Veluwse Israel Vrijstaat

Report by the University of Groningen on Sovereignty


 

The following is based on the report by the University of Groningen and is not a word for word translation and we make no claim that the following is a word for word translation.

The University of Groningen has this to say on Sovereignty:

“Sovereignty is one of the weightiest terms in international law. A political entity (usually a state) that is sovereign has the right to carry out authoritative rule within its own borders without the meddling of other states. Other states need to respect the integrity of the said state’s borders and withhold acts of aggression against said state. All states are deemed as equals and can part take in international treaties. No state can make another state do as it sees fit. For equality before international law to be in existence, sovereignty must be the basis of all such understandings. 

 

Yet it is all not as simple as that. Sovereignty itself is a red hot issue. According to Tibetans, Tibet has been under 49 years of Chinese occupation, whereas China deems Tibet to be part of its territory. There is in this case no breech of sovereignty as far as China is concerned because it sees Tibet as always having been part of China, and thus never having been sovereign.  Lately Venezuela, Columbia, and Equator have been making the news breeches or sovereignty. Venezuela and Equator have claimed breeches of their sovereignty over Columbian troops who have strayed into their territory in search of rebels, claiming this to be a legitimate right to self defence.  These cases highlight the awkwardness in matters relating to sovereignty and the understandings thereof.

Sovereignty can take on many forms depending on who one turns to such as; Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau and Machiavelli. They all have their own insight on the subject and each of them has added a greater understanding to the thorny matter of sovereignty as none of their concepts are full accepted as the be all and end all standard.

 

One can write one’s own White-Paper on the topic making use of any one of the forms given by these men of renown. It makes for an insightful study to liken their ideas on the subject of sovereignty.

 

When one interviews someone touched by a breach of sovereignty, whereby they were made to leave house and home and flee abroad, then one soon finds out how tense the feelings are on this issue. Feelings will run high setting the tone for a hefty talk. Nevertheless, the experience will give great insights into what sovereignty can truly mean to others and how it fits within the realm of international relations and politics.

 

Further reading:

'Handboek van het Nederlandse Staatsrecht' by C.W. van der Pot & A.M. Donner (in Dutch)
 'Leviathan' by Thomas Hobbes
 'Two treatises of government' by John Locke
 ' De Heerser' by Niccolò Machiavelli.....”

 

International Relations

Sovereignty has a great deal to do the meaning of Statehood.

(Wikipedia...) “Sovereignty is the quality of having an independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make laws that rests on a political fact for which no pure legal definition can be provided. In theoretical terms, the idea of "sovereignty", historically, from Socrates to Thomas Hobbes, has always necessitated a moral imperative on the entity exercising it.

For centuries past, the idea that a state could be sovereign was always connected to its ability to guarantee the best interests of its own citizens. Thus, if a state could not act in the best interests of its own citizens, it could not be thought of as a “sovereign” state.

 

The concept of sovereignty has been discussed throughout history, from the time before recorded history through to the present day. It has changed in its definition, concept, and application throughout, especially during the Age of Enlightenment. The current notion of state sovereignty contains four aspects consisting of territory, population, authority and recognition. According to Stephen D. Krasner, the term could also be understood in four different ways:

·        domestic sovereignty – actual control over a state exercised by an authority organized within this state,

·        interdependence sovereignty – actual control of movement across state's borders, assuming the borders exist,

·        international legal sovereignty – formal recognition by other sovereign states,

·        Westphalian sovereignty – lack of other authority over state than the domestic authority (examples of such other authorities could be a non-domestic church, a non-domestic political organization, or any other external agent).

Often, these four aspects all appear together, but this is not necessarily the case – they are not affected by one another, and there are historical examples of states that were non-sovereign in one aspect while at the same time being sovereign in another of these aspects. According to Immanuel Wallerstein, another fundamental feature of sovereignty is that it is a claim that must be recognised by others if it is to have any meaning: "Sovereignty is more than anything else a matter of legitimacy [...that] requires reciprocal recognition. Sovereignty is a hypothetical trade, in which two potentially conflicting sides, respecting de facto realities of power, exchange such recognitions as their least costly strategy." ...” End of quote.

 

Further gleanings from the report by the University of Groningen...

 “The history of sovereignty has undergone many changes and none more so than in the 20th ‘Year-hundred’ (Century) after WW2 with what was benignly called, de-colonization.

Between 1945 and 1989, hundreds of new states appeared upon the world stage, and with the fall of the Soviet Union, 20 more states were added and the map of the world is still being redrawn.”

On the whole there is a growing sense of a sovereign state being one and the same as an ethnic entity, having an ethnic zone and yet in stark contrast to this, we find the multi-cultural, or multi-ethnic based states also feeling themselves to be states, and double standards abound. The ‘traditional’ meaning, if ever there was one over the last few hundred years, is not in place.

What then of the EU which has many nations made up many indigenous ethnicities, which are themselves being increasingly outnumbered by incoming ethnicities, at the same time it has post WW2 borders which do not match indigenous borders of ethnicity, and if that is not enough, in Europe we also find traditional ethnic and national claims which do not match national borders. The current state borders of the EU form the ground-works of the current EU concept of statehood. So in that sense these are deemed as sovereign yet at the same time these states trade aspects of statehood for a federation of states under the EU banner. The traditional outlook on sovereignty is being changed if not watered down dramatically and one sees this in practice when some of the member states wants to reclaim former rights which they have handed earlier over to the central EU body, but only to find the reversal is not so easy... and the state seeking reversals falls victim of accusations of wrecking stability and unity against a perceived ‘common good’. Nevertheless, all platforms of sovereignty are still existent for all member states IF one deems the benchmarks to be; territory, one’s own befolking, owns own authorities, and the right of those authorities to enforce their authority where need be. If these are the benchmarks, then each member state is sovereign.

However, the University of Groningen asserts that the case surrounding the Hedwige Polder in the border region between Holland and Belgium, shows that the Netherlands due to its EU membership has lost full say over its geographic territory (and thus its sovereignty has been earnestly weakened).

As a matter of background for those outside the Netherlands here is a summary of the Hedwige Polder issue from Radio Netherlands:

“The Dutch government has in the end agreed to partially flood reclaimed land in Zeeland, the Hedwige Polder, as to make up for dredging the Westerschelde River, which leads to the Port of Antwerp.

A third of the land will be flooded, roughly 100 hectares. And another 200 hectares of reclaimed land in other polders will also be sacrificed as compensation for nature. Deputy Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker informed the European Commission and parliament of the decision on Friday.

The Netherlands had an agreement with the Flemish government in northern Belgium to flood the polder. The flooding was a needed as part of a deal to dredge the Westerschelde so that large ships could reach the Port of Antwerp. European legislation stipulates that nature has to be compensated. Huge local resistance, however, led to the Dutch attempting to back out of the deal, arousing the anger of the Belgians.

The current alternative has come about after heady negotiations with the European Commission. The minister may have difficulty finding a majority in parliament as the Labour Party, Green Left and Socialist Party say they will not back the deal. The Freedom Party has also said it opposes flooding the polder.

The regional Queen’s Commissioner Carla Peijs (former transport minister) strongly opposes the decision “unless it means the area will never be flooded again.”

The new plan is much dearer than the original idea and the commissioner questions whether it can be carried out to budget. Ms Peijs foresees that Zeelanders will not cooperate with the plans. She told TROS public television, “Zeelanders are against flooding reclaimed land. It cuts through their soul. What we don’t understand in Zeeland is why we keep having to dig up bits of Zeeland to give Antwerp more room.”  End of quote.