Europe’s great mistake has been to believe that a nation can give up sovereignty. That is not possible. If a nation exists, it is because the individuals who comprise it recognise it as the relevant frame of reference for their collective representation.
The citizen’s requirement is that his situation be better with the nation than without it. If that contract does not exist, if doubt creeps in, the nation falls apart. Where, in particular, a segment of the population identifies first and foremost with a new frame of reference – their area or region, for example – the nation runs the risk of schism. That is why a nation must be strong to ensure its cohesion. In this balancing act, surrender of sovereignty to a supranational entity can never be a winning bet. If the supranational entity is not credible, citizens will not accept it being given powers. And if on the contrary it is more credible than the nation, it means that the nation cannot remain the frame of reference for its citizens. This is an existential question for nations. Governments that negotiate treaties containing delegation of decision-making run the almost certain risk of not being followed by the people they represent.
If nations are not prepared to abandon their sovereignty, that is not to say that they cannot make compromises. They can accept limits on their freedom, in the context of negotiations with their partners, if these limits are contractual, justified and reversible. Europe, to be successful, must be based on these foundations. A technocratic delegation of power is possible, on the dual condition of remaining under the political control of the delegating nations and demonstrating its benefits.
John Klin, January 8th, 2022, London.
Quote from the novel “Brexit XXL”, chapter 5, “Sovereignty”