Approving international agreements

Foreign policy falls within the competence of the kingdom and Åland is therefore not in a position to conclude any international agreements.

However, this does not mean that Åland is completely without influence in international affairs. If an international agreement entered into by Finland contains a provision that is in conflict with the Autonomy Act, or if the agreement contains a provision in a matter that falls within the region’s area of competence, approval by the Parliament is required for the provision to come into force in Åland.

In practice, the President of Finland requests the approval of the Parliament to international agreements. Every year, about twenty such petitions are submitted to the Parliament, and the agreements often contain uncontroversial things, such as rules for avoiding double taxation or agreements on social security. In such cases, the approval of the Parliament is more or less routinely given.

Sometimes, however, the legislative veto right over international agreements is of greater importance. For example, Finland's accession to the EU, which required approval from the Parliament, which in practice meant that the Parliament could choose whether Åland should follow Finland into the EU or not.