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25 May 2017

National Sovereignty in times of crisis: Borderless Europe and its Discontents, and 'One Country Two Systems in China'

25 May 2017 (Thu) 16:00 – 18:00
Academic Conference Room
11/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus
The University of Hong Kong

click to see poster

Under “One Country Two Systems”, the people of Hong Kong treasure their political autonomy from China and fear its erosion. While they enjoy freedoms inconceivable in mainland China, they are acutely aware of their limits. Though it has a significant level of control over its economic and political affairs, Hong Kong is not sovereign. The nativist movements in Hong Kong that aim to claim full sovereignty are bold and risky. Paradoxically and regrettably, their fight for democratic control may end in China asserting even more power over Hong Kong, diminishing rather than enhancing its autonomy.
Europe is different. When the British people decided in a 2016 referendum in favour of Brexit, the EU was in no position to prevent the UK from leaving. The question was how and when, not whether the UK would reclaim full national sovereignty. On the other hand, most scholars of European integration found any talk about national sovereignty obsolete. The interdependent world of the 21st century required political entities that were ‘de-territorialised’. In such a polity, borders were to be fluid, porous or even non-existent. Over the last couple of decades, Europe has steadily moved towards an ideal of an ‘ever closer union’, which paradoxically brought about its exact opposite: a Europe that was internally divided and weakened.
Professor Joseph Weiler, the keynote speaker in this seminar, suggests that the Euro crisis and Brexit are only surface manifestation of a much deeper crisis which has its roots in long term processes which can be traced back to the very origins of the Union. He will track the current crisis from its original roots and explain a confluence of factors which have come to a head in a "perfect storm" which Europe is now trying to navigate. The other speakers will comment on the situations of the EU and “One Country Two Systems” in Hong Kong.

Keynote Speaker
Professor Joseph Weiler
New York University Law School
Former President, European University Institute
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Ms Cora Chan
Associate Professor
Faculty of Law, HKU

Dr Stefan Auer
Associate Professor
Jean Monnet Chair
Programme Director in European Studies,
School of Modern Languages and Cultures, HKU

Dr Nicole Scicluna
Visiting Assistant Professor,
Department of Politics and Public Administration, HKU

Professor Jiwei Ci
Department of Philosophy, School of Humanities, HKU

Professor Hualing Fu
Faculty of Law, HKU

Please click here for online registration to reserve a place. For inquiries, please email Joyce Fung at

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