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Read the Daily Rant: an outsider's view on the Irish referendum


Question

Why is Ireland the only country holding a referendum for this treaty? Why are all other countries not allowed this right? - Katie

Answer

Ireland is having a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty because an Irishman called Raymond Crotty took the Irish government to court in 1987. The case established that changes made to the European Union treaties require an amendment to the Irish constitution.  Amending the Irish constitution requires a referendum; therefore Ireland is now having a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

 

The reason most countries are not having a referendum is because European elites have openly admitted that most member states would probably vote no. Therefore instead of respecting the will of the people and allowing those who put them in power to have a voice, they choose to just push it through.

 

“Anything that crosses the threshold of requiring a referendum will immediately run into difficulties. We have to come to terms with the fact that getting any constitutional treaty past a referendum in our member states will be an uphill struggle.”
- Peter Mandelson, EU Trade Commissioner (Independent, 3 July 2006)

 

“France was just ahead of all the other countries in voting No. It would happen in all Member States if they have a referendum. There is a cleavage between people and governments… A referendum now would bring Europe into danger. There will be no Treaty if we had a referendum in France, which would again be followed by a referendum in the UK.”
- Nicolas Sarkozy, French President (EUobserver, 14 November 2007)

 

“They decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception… Because if this is the kind of document that the IGC will produce, any Prime Minister – imagine the UK Prime Minister - can go to the Commons and say ‘look, you see, it’s absolutely unreadable, it’s the typical Brussels treaty, nothing new, no need for a referendum.’ Should you succeed in understanding it at first sight there might be some reason for a referendum, because it would mean that there is something new.”
- Giuliano Amato Former Italian Prime Minister (CER meeting, 12 July 2007)

 

Other countries do not have the same ratification process for European Treaties.  However all EU member states are able to hold referendums, and many were planned for the previous European Constitution.  A TNS Poll showed that 75% of all Europeans wanted a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.  For more information on how individual countries ratify European treaties, and their ability to hold referendums, please see the Country Section on our website (http://www.erc2.org/20.0.html).


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