“Pooled sovereignty” is an oxymoron

The concept of “pooled sovereignty” is rather like “guided democracy” or “autocratic vote”, one word overrides the meaning of the other.

Let’s consider the basic meaning of words: Sovereignty is the idea of a nation being self-governing, having ultimate power or supreme jurisdiction over its own laws and direction. The concept of pooling is to share something, usually a resource.

Thus the idea of sharing authority is mutually exclusive with the idea of sovereignty. Once you share your authority, your jurisdiction is no longer supreme. Sovereignty by definition cannot be shared. The only way you can share your authority without losing sovereignty is through delegation. And even then, the sovereign must retain the ability to override the subsidiary authority of the delegates.

When proponents of the EU talk about pooling sovereignty, it is a case of bait-and-switch. What they actually mean in practice is that sovereignty is given up to a foreign supra-national institution. There is no pooling there – EU rules and directives take supremacy over national legislation. They also talk about pooling economic power, using the EU proponents’ favourite word: “clout”. But there is no such thing as economic power unless you are a totalitarian state. Trades are decided by the individuals and businesses participating in trade, not the by governments. And trade does not depend on spending power. Whether you buy a loaf of bread that costs less than £1, or an exotic car that costs more than £100,000 – the ones deciding the trade are the buyer and the seller. International trade treaties may be signed if two countries find it mutually beneficial to sign such agreements. Economic clout is irrelevant to the success of signing such deals.

The only factor of relevance in terms of pooling is military might. So one could argue that the combined military might makes the EU more formidable, thus military action against such a bloc would be discouraged. This would work, but there is already a much wider international pooling of defensive capability: NATO. The NATO agreement guarantees that any offensive military action taken against a member state will result in the retaliation of the combined might of all member states. The great thing about this agreement is that it works only in defense: NATO will not pool military power in taking offensive action.

Yet, the EU is clearly working towards a European ‘defense’ force. This urge towards a centralised unified army portends something far more sinister. There seems to be a desire amongst EU officials to create a force that rivals the superpowers of Russia and the United States of America. Such power is simply unnecessary for the simple fact that the existence of NATO guarantees the military defense of all nation states. The only advantage of a centralised army is that the central government can direct this army however it wishes, without requiring the consent of all member states (or any, for that matter).

Many people have argued that the EU encourages peace and prevents war in Europe. But who keeps instigating wars in Europe? It seems to me that European wars happen every time someone tries to acquire supreme power over the continent.

So do you still think you’re “pooling sovereignty” for the greater good of the continent?

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Author: Hoong-Wai

I'm a sinner. I have an interest in economics, philosophy, politics, science, sociology, technology, theology (in alphabetical order). I care about truth and justice. I can be a contrarian.

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