Part of the explanation for the British vote to exit the EU is a reaction to the uncertainty and fast pace of change brought about by globalisation. The calls to ‘take back control’ and for the UK to be fully sovereign are a rhetorical expression of this malaise.
Yet, how many countries are truly sovereign in this idealistic way?
Once the government of any territory wants to interact—even in a purely transactional way—with other jurisdictions, there must be some level of co-operation, if not compromise, which represents pooled sovereignty.
Of course, either party can disengage at any moment, but the mutual benefit of trade and other forms of interaction tend to outweigh the costs. And so, while control over many areas of domestic policy is always held internally, the notion of pure “sovereignty” can only be expressed negatively, by the act of disengaging and going it alone. Continue reading A New UK-EU Relationship?