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Citizens From France And The Netherlands Rejected The Constitutional Treaty In 2005 Referenda And Irish Citizens Rejected The Lisbon Treaty In A 2008

1209 words - 5 pages

There have always been controversies surrounding the treaties in the post-Maastricht era. Such practices did not pass by the Constitutional and Lisbon treaties. The rejection of these two treaties had a major political impact on Europe as a whole. 29th of May 2005, was a memorable day in the history of the European Union. That particular date is connected with the referendum in France, regarding the ratification of the Constitutional Treaty and most importantly with the ‘non’ votes that were louder than the ‘oui’ votes. The citizen’s voice clearly stated that further integration amongst member states shall not be perceived through the Constitutional Treaty. Furthermore, just two days later Dutch referendum also stated the same as French. These ‘non’(s) and ‘nee’(s) threw Europe into a constitutional crisis. Three years later, the Lisbon Treaty was about to change everything, a step closer to an ever-close union. The treaty was already ratified in number of countries. It was Ireland’s citizens turn to decide on that matter with a referendum. 12th of June 2008, was the very date that Irishmen said ‘no’ to the treaty. Both of those failures of the treaties sent shockwaves all over Europe. Number of articles and official barometer polls looked after the referendum to try to project the main reasons behind the rejections. Certain aspects of the implication that drove the French and Irish public to halt further integration between states, are more or the less the same. For example, aspects of lack of knowledge and understandment of the treaties due to their complexity, common nationalistic and political views, just to name a few, are fundamental ideas behind the ‘noes’. However, there are also significant differences in the implications deriving from the different political and social context in these two countries. This paper would therefore look at the reasons behind the rejections. Why did they happen, who did it and how they did it, are the main question that need to be answered in order to understand why both Constitutional and Lisbon treaties were not ratified from, respectively from France and Ireland.
On 29th of May, 2005, France held a referendum of whether to ratify the European Constitution or not. Later on the same day results were carried out, it was ‘no from the very heart of Europe’ (Duval, et. al. 2005). Just a month later post-referendum survey was carried out by Eurobarometer aiming at finding data on why and who voted ‘non’ (2005, p.14). It showed high turnout rate of 69.3% of all the voters of which 54.70% rejected, whereas 45.30% voted ‘oui’. Many authors of newspaper articles as well as the Eurobarometer has dealt with the reason behind the ‘non’, examining different political, economic, socio-demographic concerns . Amongst the most important political factors that influenced voters in the ballot room, according to Duval (et. al. 2005), were the strong Euro-skeptic campaign led by nationalists, extremists, communists, socialists...

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