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Referendums related to the European Union

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Title: Referendums related to the European Union  
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Subject: Politics of the European Union, Directorate-General for Informatics, Referendums related to the European Union, Referendum, Common Agricultural Policy
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Referendums related to the European Union

European Union
Flag of the European Union

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government
of the European Union

This is a list of referendums related to the European Union.

Enlargement of 1973

Following that approval, three of the four candidate states (Ireland, Denmark, Norway) likewise held referendums on the issue of joining the European Communities. The results were:

Following the rejection by the Norwegian electorate (53.5% against), Norway did not join.

Single European Act

Maastricht Treaty

Three countries held referendums on the ratification of the treaty of Maastricht: France, Ireland and Denmark.

Result was a majority of 68.7% in favour. Turnout was 57.31%.

The treaty was verified with a slim margin of victory of 51.1% in favour. Turnout was 69.7%.

In Denmark, two referendums had to be held before the treaty of Maastricht passed. The first was held on 2 June 1992, had a turnout of 82.9% but approval of the treaty of Maastricht was denied by a slim margin, with only 49.3% in favour of the treaty.

After that defeat of the treaty, Denmark negotiated and received the following four opt-outs from portions of the treaty: Economic and Monetary Union, Union Citizenship, Justice and Home Affairs and Common Defense. A new referendum was held on 18 May 1993. There was a turnout of 85.5% of which the 56.8% voted in favour of the renegotiated treaty.

Enlargement of 1995

The 1994 referendums on membership of four new nations were as follows:

Austria, Sweden and Finland were admitted on 1 January 1995. As the referendum in Norway was 52.2% against joining, the proposal by the Norwegian government to join was rejected for the second time.

The Åland Islands, a dependency belonging to Finland, also voted (20 November 1994) on their accession to the European Union. With a turnout of 49.1% the result was 73.6% in favour, which means that EU law would also apply to the Åland Islands.

Treaty of Amsterdam

Two countries held referendums on the ratification of the treaty of Amsterdam: Ireland and Denmark.

Result was a majority of 61.74% in favour. Turnout was 56.2%.

Result was a majority of 55.1% in favour. Turnout was 76.2%.

Treaty of Nice

  •  Ireland - Irish referendums on Treaty of Nice

In 2001 Irish voters rejected the Treaty of Nice by 53.9%, but with only 34.8% of the electorate voting, while in 2002 they accepted the Treaty by 62.9% with 49.5% of the electorate voting.

Enlargement of 2004

In 2004 the new enlargement of the European Union involved ten new member states, eight from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Cyprus. Referendums about the accession were held in each of these nations, with the exception of Cyprus.

The 2003 referendums dates (in four of the countries, a two-day ballot is held), and the outcomes in each of the candidate countries, are as follows:

Since the referendums results were all in favour of joining, ratification proceeded without problems and the candidate countries became full members of the EU on 1 May 2004.


Denmark and the United Kingdom received opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty and do not have to join the euro until they choose to do so; Sweden has not received an opt-out, yet refuses to join for now, as well. Two referendums have been held on the issue up to now, both of which failed:

European Constitution

Several member states used or intended to use referendums to ratify the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE).

The results were as follows:

Referendums were planned, but not held, in:

Treaty of Lisbon

Only one member state, the Ireland, intended to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon through a referendum.

Since the vote by the Republic of Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty, the European Commission has stated that the Treaty would not force Ireland to change its view on issues such as having a permanent (as opposed to rotating) commissioner, military neutrality and abortion. The Irish voted again on the Lisbon Treaty on 2 October 2009. The vote was 67.1% in favour of the treaty.

Some have criticised the decision to hold a second Irish vote for a couple of reasons. Main opposition in the European Union comes from the United Kingdom Independence Party who argue the Irish public were ignored over their original vote and were being forced to vote again. UKIP also states that the concessions made to Ireland in relation to the Lisbon Treaty "are not worth the paper they are on and have no legal standing".

Others have argued that as Ireland has been given a guarantee that certain issues such as abortion will not be affected by the Treaty of Lisbon, the Irish people should vote again on the Lisbon Treaty with the concessions in mind, and that, given that every other Member State had approved the treaty, it was not unreasonable to ask the single country that rejected it to reconsider, especially in light of the guarantees offered.

Enlargement of 2013

Fiscal Compact referendum

Future enlargements

Countries which seek to join the European Union in the future may hold a referendum as part of the accession process. In addition, Article 88-5 of the Constitution of France requires a referendum there to ratify any future accession treaty.[1] Politicians in other existing members have proposed referendums in their states, particularly with reference to the accession of Turkey.

Agreements between Switzerland and the EU


  1. ^ "Constitution of 4 October 1958".  
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