Territorial disputes: Gibraltar (Part 6) [Post 36]

Gibraltar, the Egalitarian Shared Sovereignty, the financial system, government and law

Last time, we introduced the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY. Today, we present some key elements related to Gibraltar. 
Post 35: Territorial disputes: Gibraltar (Part 5)

From our previous posts, we have learnt so far that some of the main concerns related to Gibraltar are:


Finance in the context of a sovereign conflict means the monetary policy, market system, taxation system and way of dealing with debts (internal or international) of a given State. Autarchy is the economic independence a State (in this case, a non-sovereign party, Gibraltar) must have in relation to other States; the ability a State has to balance its gains and losses without external aid. 

The fact that a population is not able to meet its needs and has to appeal to its peers to achieve a certain balance in its account may militate against its sovereignty. It is not that autarchy is a necessary condition for a State to be sovereign. However, it is as a desirable feature in order to avoid any possible interference in internal affairs. 

In the particular case of sovereignty disputes, as in any conflict in which there are two sovereign States, it is more than possible that they do not have the same strengths in terms of their financial system. Gibraltar as a TERRITORIAL DISPUTE offers a clear example.

It is often the case sovereign States borrow large amounts of money. Even central States do so for very different reasons (e.g. to cover overdrafts in their expenses, to stimulate international trade, to soften bilateral relations). Therefore, the result is usually an unbalanced relationship that may result in different relative positions in any bargaining situation. 

In the particular case of Gibraltar, it is easy to identify three parties with different levels of welfare. Although all of them have been affected by the recent worldwide financial crisis, the Spanish economy has evidently deteriorated. With Brexit, the United Kingdom’s future situation remains unknown. The financial system is a feature that implies much controversy, and so it will be analyzed through the proposed model. Therein, what financial system should Gibraltar have?

Government and law

The globe offers a wide spectrum of examples in which although the form of government differs, in all cases they are still States. There is no controversial feature at this point. In the particular context of this TERRITORIAL DISPUTE (Gibraltar), this sub-element does not offer controversy either. However, other sub-elements part of any government may not be so straightforward.
If sovereignty is not shared, then it is clear who elects representatives and chooses them (the inhabitants if the territory is independent or the inhabitants as part of a sovereign State). What happens when sovereignty is shared?

Then, there are two different issues: a) representatives and administration; and b) law. It follows from this that the two most challenging practical issues raised by shared sovereignty in relation to government seem to be:  

  • What sort of governmental arrangements shared sovereignty requires?; and
  • How governmental authority can be shared and yet be workable?

NOTE: This post is based on Jorge Emilio Núñez, “Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty: International Law and Politics,” London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2020 (forthcoming)Previous published research monograph about territorial disputes and sovereignty by the author, Jorge Emilio Núñez, “Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue,” London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017.

NEXT POST: we combine both (the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY and the elements mentioned above) to offer a potential ideal solution.

Monday 25th November 2019 

Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez

Twitter: @London1701

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