June 21, 2018. The ECMI Director Prof. Tove Malloy spoke at the French National Assembly on Territorial Autonomy: Corsica, Overseas Territories and International Examples.
The ECMI Director Prof. Malloy was invited to speak to the French National Assembly on a topic of territorial autonomies. While addressing important questions around the topic, she emphasized several key elements of autonomy arrangements of islands in Europe.
Why is the case of the Åland Islands unique? Prof. Malloy opened opened her talk with a reference to the ECMI seminar on island autonomies, held in 1998 in Mariehamn and briefly outlined history of autonomies on European continent, as well as the importance of the case of the Åland Islands;
“In the 20 years since the Seminar, no island in the European Continent has received autonomy with the exception of Greenland, whose autonomy has been revised and extended to full selfdetermination in 2009.”
How do the geographic aspects determine political will of governments when talking about autonomies? Malloy gave several arguments from the historic overview with the conclusion that “the tangible quality of life is in danger when remote islands cannot be reached”.
Which is the most effective autonomy model? Prof. Malloy concluded that althought autonomy as a “modern diversity management tool is flexible and adjustable to the specific situation and the needs of multicultural societies”, different regions require customized approaches for effective autonomy arrangements.
“There is no ‘one size fits all.’ From the point of view of governments, there are ‘expensive’ models that require extensive legal concessions and large budgetary commitments, and there are the ‘cheaper’ models, which may require less formal legislation and rest on programmatic and secondary law directives. A Rolls Royce model versus a Skoda model. The key to understand autonomy is that it is a tool for peace making and a democratic tool that promotes equal access to joint decision-making while also securing self-government on local issues.”
Minority Accommodation through Territorial and Non-Territorial Autonomy, edited by Tove H. Malloy and Francesco Palermo