How can such a complex treaty like the EU reform treaty or the EU Constitution be decided by a simple 'yes' or 'no' question? Perhaps parts of it are good and other parts are bad?
Such a question implies that there is a difference here between parliaments and referendums. That’s not the case. The national parliaments can also only say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the EU reform treaty like it has been formulated on the EU level. They don’t have the ability to vote per article or part of the treaty . This is the result of the current legal structure of the EU, in which ‘one size fits all’ treaties and regulations are made for the whole of Europe in Brussels, instead of allowing for flexible, diverse cooperation patterns for (groups of) EU countries. The origin of this problem lies within the faulty EU structure and can only be solved there.
Of course, it is possible for parliaments to have their say in the making of an EU treaty, but the same goes for the European peoples, of course. The EU politicians could organize citizen hearings and NGO consultations. This would increase the chance that the treaty would be adopted by referendum considerably. This only works if they would seriously listen to the people, of course.
The answer was provided by Arjen Nijeboer, co-author of the book "Direct Democracy - Facts and arguments about the introduction of initiative & referendum" which you can download in DA, DE, EN, FR, NE, SK language here
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