Sovereignty, Territory and Fluidity: Lessons from Hoganas
Alexandra R. Harrington
Global Institute for Health and Human Rights; Albany Law School
December 30, 2009
Throughout its history, debate has swirled around the impact of the European Union on sovereignty, territorial control, and state impact. Typically, such debates have centered on the impacts of these issues on member states and member populations. Indeed, these debates – and related debates – are still very much alive in legal and political circles today.
However, little attention has been paid to the impact of the European Union on sovereignty, territorial control, and state impact in areas other than member states. A recent decision by Hoganas, a town in Sweden, suggests that more attention should be paid to such impacts. Sweden is not a part of the European Union’s Eurozone and, as such, does not use or accept the Euro as a state currency. This is national legal policy. Hoganas has an economy which is heavily dependent upon tourism, especially tourism from states which are part of the European Union and which use the Euro. In an effort to protest the Swedish legal position and to increase its tourism trade, Hoganas had declared that it will accept the Euro as a valid means of payment within its borders.
This paper will address the legal issues raised by Hoganas’ actions as they relate to the concept of territory and sovereignty in modern international law. The paper will argue that, more than just an act of defiance or financial pragmatism, Hoganas exemplifies a sense of territorial fluidity under which small political units may elect to take their own course of action, even against their own state. The cultivation of this fluidity raises important questions for law and also for society in general in terms of its impact on the concept of belonging and statehood.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: international law, territory, international economic law
Date posted: December 31, 2009