Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Twenty-First Century Federalism for the UK and Europe

According to The Guardian, after the Brexit vote, an inter-party commission in the UK is accelerating its proposals to promote reforms towards a more federal UK. This acceleration would include a transition from a notion of sovereignty based on the centre "devolving" sovereignty to the nations, metropolitan cities and regions, to a notion of shared sovereignty where Scotland, Northern Ireland, London and other entities would have full sovereignty on all those responsibilities that are not clearly shared and pooled. The proposals for a federal future for the UK are endorsed by a number of representatives from all the mainstream political spectrum, including Labour leaders and former Liberal-Democrat and Conservative leaders Menzies Campbell and John Major. After a very narrow national victory of the Brexit vote in the irresponsible referendum called by David Cameron, the leaders of the Brexit campaign are finding it impossible to transform their promises in realities, among other reasons because London, Scotland and Northern Ireland are against them. The proposals of this group are so far silent on the relationship that the constituent parts of the new Federal Kingdom will have with Europe, but it seems clear that it cannot be that London is in the EU and, let's say, Guilford, is outside the EU. Therefore, most probably the Federal Kingdom will have to agree on a form of relationship/belonging to the EU that is not very different from the current form of belonging/relationship. No-one said that federalism in the XXI Century would be easy. We live in a complex world, a world on institutional diversity and innovation. But the old sovereign nation-state is dead.

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