2012. 10. 02.
Kinga Gál addressed the questions of the minority protection in the EU and the good practices learnt from the Åland-islands' autonomy-model. The EPP member underlined that the best-practice models or some of their elements are potential instruments for the improvement of minority protection and the solution of the problems and situations of other such communities.
According to the MEP one of the most important conclusions of the Åland-islands' autonomy, and the model to be "exported" is not the content of the solution itself, but constructive way of thinking and cooperation that leads to the birth of the autonomy. The real power of the Åland-islands' pattern is the parts' ability for compromise and finding solution together, the responsibility and the sensitivity by which the conflicts were solved keeping in mind the interest of the minority community. The message has also an outstanding significance, that the minority situation can also be solved without modifying borders and keeping in mind the interests of the given country and the minority's interests at the same time.
'The Finnish government found the Swedish minority valuable, an asset, and instead of modifying the borders, it changed its attitude in order to solve situation', Kinga Gál pointed out. The result of this approach is the autonomy-model that has been functioning for more than 90 years successfully, and deserves the recognition of the European countries.
Background: In October 1922, 90 years ago the international convention giving the islands regional autonomy entered into force in Finland. The autonomy of the islands and the guarantees put in place were improved repeatedly, so this is an autonomous region of Europe having the most expanded self-determination so far.