you're reading...
Institutional and Legal Affairs, PUBLICATIONS

Referendums on EU issues

Written by Laura Tilindyte,

Vote

© DURIS Guillaume / Fotolia

Referendums give citizens a direct say over matters which would otherwise be decided by elected (or non-elected) representatives. Thus, as instruments of direct democracy, they may foster citizens’ involvement and legitimise important decisions. In fact, referendums have been on the rise in Europe and elsewhere in the world in recent decades, and have become a recurrent feature of European politics. Since 1972, Europe has seen 54 referendums on EU matters, concerning membership, treaty ratification or specific policy issues (e.g. adoption of the euro); further referendums are to follow in 2016. At the same time, the degree to which EU countries make use of referendums differs significantly: while the majority of Member States have held one referendum on European integration, mostly relating to membership, a handful resort to referendums more frequently.

Despite the increased interest in some states, referendums remain controversial. On the one hand, advocates of direct democracy stress that referendums can, inter alia, foster citizens’ engagement and thereby improve legitimacy and governance. Critics, on the other hand, highlight the pitfalls of referendums. Especially in the aftermath of the French and Dutch rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in 2005, they suggest, inter alia, that in referendums voters tend to answer questions other than those on the ballot paper. Some critics, more generally, question the suitability of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote to decide on complex, multidimensional matters within the European setting. Looking at a sample of past EU referendums, the following pages provide an overview of these conflicting views, as expressed in (academic) commentary.

Read the complete publication on ‘Referendums on EU issues‘ here.

Referendums on European integration, 1972 to April 2016

Referendums on European integration, 1972 to April 2016

Discussion

One thought on “Referendums on EU issues

  1. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon
    Chiffon gayle in Europe

    Like

    Posted by africanfabriconline | October 17, 2016, 13:30

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

EU’s refugee crisis
EU Legislation in Progress
Topical Digests
EPRS Podcasts

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,258 other followers

RSS Link to Members’ Research Service

Disclaimer and Copyright statement

The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved

%d bloggers like this: