State, sovereignty, law and economics
in the era of globalization




Taken from my lectures as a Teaching Fellow in International Law, these reflections highlight how State sovereignty and International Law are profoundly influenced by globalization, economic integration and digital technologies, raising fundamental questions about global governance, State autonomy and the adaptation of legal structures to new economic and technological realities.


Part VII

International Law and Tax Law



The process of conflict mediation emerges as a daunting challenge at the nexus of law and politics, embarking on a journey through duality and transformation. This text is imbued with deep reflections on the genesis of legal systems: every stable structure springs from chaos, perpetually sailing on the turbulent waters of uncertainty and potential dissolution. The figure of Janus, the Roman god with two faces looking towards both past and future, symbolizes this endless transition between creation and destruction, order and chaos, the internal and the external. Law, akin to Janus, embraces this essential duality, delving into the dynamics of construction and deconstruction, and contrasting warfare with peace, justice with force, State with territory, and politics with economy. “Janus in the mirror” mirrors the complex self-examination of law, challenging static perception and inviting to a fourfold reflection. This duality extends to the sovereignty of States, transformed and expanded beyond national boundaries by technology, suggesting a new understanding of space and territoriality in the digital age. The relationship between “de-nomosized” spaces and those to be “re-nomosized” reveals an ongoing dialogue between past and future, highlighting the need for a balance between tradition and innovation in law.
The sovereignty of a State, characterized by its capacity to autonomously regulate other wills within a given territory, is confronted with the challenges of globalization and power sharing. Legislation, inherently linked to State sovereignty, becomes a battleground between traditional exercises of power and the pressures of globalization, which reshape the coordinates of political and legal space. The progressive erosion of State sovereignty, catalysed by global interconnectedness and supranational dynamics, questions the very foundations of State power. In this context, new forms of cooperation and governance emerge, requiring a rethinking of traditional norms and principles in favour of a more inclusive and multilateral approach, reflecting the complexity of international and transnational relationships in an interconnected world.
The concept of fiscal sovereignty, understood as the State’s capacity to levy taxes within its territorial borders and as an expression of independence in international relations, reflects the complexity of global economic dynamics. The distinction between the power of taxation tied to territory and the transnational nature of investments raises fundamental questions about the regulation and application of fiscal laws. With the expansion of international trade, there is a highlighted need to adapt fiscal regulations to the realities of a globalized economy, recognizing both the territorial limits of the State and its ability to influence economic situations beyond its borders. This debate on the extraterritorial character of tax discipline underscores the importance of finding a balance between national sovereignty and international cooperation in the era of globalization.
The context of international law is characterized by its intricate web of rules, distinguished by the diversity of their sources and a substantive consistency in their aims. This framework reflects the sovereignty of each nation, seen as an autonomous and sovereign entity, particularly in the context of tax legislation, where the principle of exclusive territorial jurisdiction prevails.
Despite this, there is no unified body of laws governing international tax matters between States. Instead, tax law and international law merge to facilitate the harmonious coexistence of States, considered equal in their right to exercise sovereignty and in maintaining their supreme authority. This integration is based on international cooperation to resolve disputes between different tax jurisdictions, driven by global interaction and economic relations.
Thus, the concept of international tax law relies on conventions against double taxation in the absence of direct tax imposition. This branch of law, unlike private international law, does not aim to resolve discrepancies between laws but rather to manage conflicts between different fiscal claims. International tax treaties seek to limit the legislative power of States to mitigate instances of double taxation, with each State agreeing to relinquish a portion of its taxation right in favour of the other, based on principles of reciprocity and mutually agreed arrangements.
On the other hand, supranational tax law is distinguished by being issued by entities that override States, such as international organizations with their own legal personality, significantly broadening the scope of application compared to convention-based tax law. While the latter focuses primarily on preventing double taxation, supranational law can directly regulate the substance of tax laws, deeply influencing national legislations.
A prime example is the tax law of the European Union, which highlights the EU’s supremacy over its member States and whose impact on national laws is widely recognized. However, this does not necessarily imply a divergence between international tax law and EU law. Community law integrates into national legal systems through a process of adoption based on the founding treaties of the EU, thus highlighting its uniqueness and its particular effect on national legal systems, while remaining part of the broader context of international tax law.





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