By Raphael Blet
In a time when the call for independence constantly increases, we need to put the dots on the i’s.
There is nothing wrong with discussing independence and the right to self-determination.
What is necessary for those independence advocates and supporters is to be conscious that sovereignty isn’t the key to independence and self-determination.
I have recently met some Hong Kong people who seemed to show their admiration for the European Union but at the same time, are advocating Hong Kong’s independence.
Isn’t it ironic to admire a supranational force when you advocate self-determination for yourself?
Many Hong Kong independence advocates who have not lived in Europe might not realize that Hong Kong is in fact much more independent than France, Germany or any other EU member state.
Despite not being a sovereign territory, Hong Kong benefits from more independence compared to EU countries like France or Spain. While the Basic Law guarantees Hong Kong’s autonomy, the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon advocates supranational submission.
While Hong Kong controls its borders and trade, EU members don’t as they are mostly signatory of the Schengen agreement which does not allow them to filter humans and goods entering their territory.
At the same time, Hong Kong has an independent judiciary in which Mainland laws do not interfere while European countries have to follow what is known as ‘directives’.
Such directives coming from the two parliaments (in Brussels and Strasbourg) are imposed to the national laws.
This strongly harms the judicial integrity of member states.
This without talking about monetary sovereignty which doesn’t exist in Europe.
When Hong Kong has its own currency, most EU members are depending on a single currency on which they have no control.
Some might refute my arguments with empirical evidence and say that either the two problems are not comparable or that the EU’s constitution was ratified after consulting the people.
This isn’t a valid argument as the Treaty of Lisbon was rejected by the French (54.67%) and Dutch (61.54%) voters who were later forced to accept it despite showing their opposition in the ballots.
All the examples given are enough to assume that Hong Kong has already more autonomy and self-determination compared to EU member countries.
As a ‘European’ who is reluctant in regards to EU institutions, it is even more revolting to see some EU officials commenting about democracy and sovereignty in the world while their own institution is anything but democratic.
Unfortunately, many people will not be willing to assume this reality, their answers being as usual: ‘it’s impossible to make such comparison.’
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Cover Photo Credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)