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Are states sovereign?

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Translated by Anoosha Boralessa (December 2015). Not reviewed by nor any other organization or person.

Are states sovereign?

Author: Jaume Rovira (Barcelona), 12-1-15

Recently in Catalonia there has been much talk about sovereignty, independence and federalism… But perhaps we should think about what we really mean when we use these words. Are states sovereign today? If a State is independent, does that mean that it can make decisions freely? Two contemporary examples make me think otherwise.

First, a trade treaty known as the TTIP is being negotiated between the US and Europe. From what I have been able to find out about this treaty, it will, among other things, limit the capacity of states to draft environmental, health or labour norms which adversely impact big corporations, by, for example, permitting multinationals to request states not to approve laws that prejudice their economic benefits, present or future.

We have also witnessed threats from the International Monetary Fund or the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, faced with the possibility that the forthcoming elections in Greece will result in a mandate contrary to the extreme austerity policies that have been applied to date. Interfering in recent years, as on other occasions, without any respect for the decision-making of a State claiming to be sovereign. On account of the foregoing, I think that sovereignty must be reconceived and that the most important and urgent task is to recover the capacity of the electorate to decide what affects it rather than our formal relations with other states and nations.

 source: El Periódico