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Legal action


Diverse parties in Germany have taken action against the Lisbon Treaty and/or for a referendum. The German parliaments have passed the treaty, but the President has granted his assent (signed the treaty). This is because of the constitutional court cases against the treaty. On the 10th and 11th February the German Constitutional Court shall deliberate upon the constitutional complaints against the Lisbon Treaty brought to it by CSU MP Peter Gauwelier and political party Die Linke.


Three lawsuits before the Federal Constitutional Court have been announced:

  • 10 March: MEP of the Bundestag Peter Gauweiler of the Christian Social Union (CSU) has announced to appeal a constitutional complaint. With the pro decision of the Lower House, he has confirmed his intention. His advocate Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider gives as a reason that „the treaty weakens the democracy for European policy, particularly the say of the national parliaments“. Read more (in German)  


  • 2 April: The Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP) announces a lawsuit. Chairman Klaus Buchner shares Gauweiler’s opinion that the treaty is incompatible with both the German Basic Law and the United Nations’ Chart. Read more (in German)  


  • 21 April: MEP of the Budestag Dieter Dehm of the Left Party announces a lawsuit and support by other party members. His core question of doubt is whether the Federal Republic can remain “a parliamentary democracy in the sense of the Basic Law” once the treaty is ratified. Read more (in German) 

An appeal to the Federal German Bar:

  • 16 April: More than 45 citizens have charged the government and all pro EU voting MEPs with high treason to the people. “Germany’s existential dissolution without a referendum on the constitution”,  the “downfall of the fundamental rights” and the “economic and monetary union being contrary to the social principle of the Basic Law” are just a few reasons for the lawsuit. Read the exact explanation and argumentation.  

    The action itself

    Furthermore, citizens’ initiatives and Mehr Demokratie e.V. do three petitions in favour of a referendum on the Lisbon treaty.

    Links to the actions here under "EU-Vertrag" and here  


Campaign against the treaty: 

  • Peace movement groups and ATTAC have recently started information and protest campaigns, shortly before the ratification. Their main concerns are “to inform citizens that the Lisbon treaty is nothing but the renamed draft of the failed EU constitution. Secondly, we want to make the MEPs realise that the people will not let it go unchallenged if such undertaking is simply rubber-stamped,“ says Jürgen Wagner with the militarisation information agency (IMI) in Tübingen. To the Interview (in German)


Recent Developments 

20 January: The German constitutional court has set a date for the deliberation of the Lisbon Treaty. On the 10th and 11th February the German Constitutional Court shall deliberate upon the constitutional complaints against the Lisbon Treaty brought to it by CSU MP Peter Gauwelier and political party Die Linke.

27 June: Germany's Left Party Die Linke has decided to apply to the Constitutional Court to have the Lisbon Treaty declared unconstitutional. Die Linke will argue that the treaty infringes upon the principle of democracy and the rights of German members of parliament.



Legal action against the government:


  • 12 March: The citizens’ initiative "Rettet Österreich" (Save Austria) bring a charge against the Austrian government on the grounds of certain consequences of the treaty. Among others, these are loss of the country’s neutrality and genetically modified food. Homepage of the initiative


  • The Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) continuously boycots the treaty in spite of their dim chances due to the parliamentary majority in favour. A short reasoning by a legal expert is to be found here, the long version is here (in German)


  • 5 March: The FPÖ’s petition for a referendum is filed to the president of the National Assembly Barbara Prammer. To be read here

United Kingdom

Lawsuit for a referendum:


  • 18 July 2008 Stuart Wheeler lost his application to appeal. Lord Justice Dyson did not appear to have taken on board that the government had, in effect, guaranteed to me that they would not ratify the treaty before the hearing, and had breached this undertaking.

  • 17 July 2008 The instrument for ratification have been filed in Rome. The UK has officially ratified the Lisbon Treaty, however the court case filed by Stuart Wheeler which was lost is currently about to go to appeal. According to the website specially created to explain the case “We applied to the Court of Appeal for leave to appeal and there was to be a hearing, on Friday 18 July, of that application. THE GOVERNMENT, HOWEVER, PERFORMED THE FINAL ACT OF RATIFICATION AT NOON YESTERDAY (16 JULY) KNOWING I WAS ABOUT TO APPLY TO THE COURT FOR PERMISSION TO APPEAL. It turns out, contrary to what I had thought until very recently, that ratification can be undone until all 27 members of the EU have ratified. I am therefore proceeding with a hearing ordered by Lord Justice Dyson to be held at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning (Friday 18 July), of my application for leave to appeal.”

  • 15 July Application to Appeal
    Today Stuart Wheeler lodged his application to be permitted to appeal with the British Court of Appeal. He has made clear to the court that the British government has threatened to ratify the Lisbon Treaty soon.

  • 25 June court case failed in court
    Today Stuart Wheeler's case failed in court.  However Mr Wheeler plans to apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal to the verdict.

  • 20 June the British government assumes to ratify the treaty before the outcome of the court case. The Lisbon treaty has not been ratified in the Uk and will not be so until the end of the case. A judgement on the case is expected in the coming week.



  • 2 May: Stuart Wheeler won permission for a high court challange over the British government's refusal to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The hearing is to take place on the 9th and 10th of June.

    BBC News

    The Guardian


  • 21 April: Stuart Wheeler, a prominent supporter of the conservative party, is taking legal steps to claim the referendum, which may delay the ratification for months. The main reason is that the EU constitution and the Lisbon Treaty are effectively identical. Links to newspaper articles:


    Sunday Herald  


PDF document to Questions and Answers to individual articles of the treaty 


Detailed overview about the political situation in terms of the Lisbon treaty in the UK (in German) 

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