Referendums related to the European Union

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

Enlargement of 1973[edit]

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[edit]

Maastricht Treaty[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Only one member state, 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.

Others have argued that, as Ireland itself decided to hold a second referendum provided it obtained certain guarantees, and it indeed obtained such guarantees on issues such as abortion not being affected by the Treaty, it was perfectly acceptable for the Irish people to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty with the concessions in mind, especially 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[edit]

European Fiscal Compact[edit]

Unified Patent Court[edit]

Future enlargements[edit]

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[edit]


  1. ^ Nationale, Assemblée. "Welcome to the english website of the French National Assembly - Assemblée nationale". Retrieved 2016-02-03.