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The Meaning of Airspace Sovereignty Today – A Case Study on Demilitarisation and Functional Airspace Blocks

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As a result of the EU Single European Sky directives, European states adopted regional agreements on functional airspace blocks. The Agreement on the North European Functional Airspace Block (NEFAB) was signed in 2012 by Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Norway. The nature of the agreement is mixed and involves civil as well as military actors. NEFAB seems to operate in practice in a hybrid mode, sometimes looking like a private international enterprise and sometimes more like a public international organisation. Does the highly technical nature of the agreement keep issues of political and legal relevance outside the range of democratic control? To what extent can such hybrid, functional, technical regimes of international cooperation affect the understandings and the exercise of sovereignty, and what is the effect of the NEFAB-regime on older legal obligations such as the demilitarisation and neutralisation regime of the Åland Islands?

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor, Director (on leave), Head of Research, The Åland Islands Peace Institute, Åland, Finland,


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