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]

Before the negotiations on the treaty of Maastricht began, Italy held a consultative referendum in order to give the European Parliament a popular mandate to elaborate a future European Constitution.

Result was a majority of 88.1% in favour. Turnout was 81.0%.

After the treaty was signed, three countries held referendums on its ratification: 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 were held before the treaty of Maastricht passed. The first was held on 2 June 1992, had a turnout of 82.9% with approval of the treaty of Maastricht denied by a slim margin of 50,7%, with 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 Defence. 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 treaty with the opt-outs.

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%, with 34.8% of the electorate voting. At a second referendum in 2002, statements on Ireland not having to join a common defence policy and affirming the right to decide on enhanced cooperation in the national parliament were stressed in a special document and 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 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 deliberately doesn't live up to the requirements for joining for now. Two referendums have been held on the issue up to now, both of which rejected accession:

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, obliged by their constitution, decided on ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon through a referendum, and rejected the treaty a first time.

After the first vote by Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council and the Irish Government released separate documents, referred to as "The Irish Guarantees", that stated the other member countries would not use the possibility in the Treaty to diminish the number of permanent commissioners in favour of a rotating system with fewer commissioners, and not threaten Ireland's military neutrality and rules on abortion.[1][2] With these assurances, the Irish voted again on the unchanged Lisbon Treaty on 2 October 2009. The vote was then 67.1% in favour of the treaty.

Enlargement of 2013[edit]

European Fiscal Compact[edit]

Unified Patent Court[edit]

A proposed court between several EU member states, that – amongst others – is to be constituted for litigation related to the European Union patent

Greek bailout referendum, 2015[edit]

A majority of 61% rejected the bailout conditions. However, shortly afterwards the government accepted a bailout with even harsher conditions than the one rejected.

Danish European Union opt-out referendum, 2015[edit]

Dutch Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum, 2016[edit]

Consultative referendum based on the Consultative Referendum Act 2015 upon a request of over 300 000 Dutch citizens. 61% voted against the Approval Act.

United Kingdom withdrawal[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.[4] Politicians in other existing members have proposed referendums in their states, particularly with reference to the accession of Turkey.

There is discussion amongst eurosceptic parties and movements across the EU to hold their own referendums on EU membership since the referendum in the UK.[5]

Agreements between Switzerland and the EU[edit]


  1. ^ Institute of European Affairs, (2009) Lisbon: The Irish Guarantees Explained, Dublin, Retrieved 28 June 2016
  2. ^ Protocol on the Concerns of the Irish People on the Treaty of Lisbon,(2013) Official Journal of the European Union, n° L 60, pp. 131–139, Retrieved 28 June 2016
  3. ^ The Conservative Party Manifesto 2015 (PDF). Conservative Party. p. 30. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Nationale, Assemblée. "Welcome to the english website of the French National Assembly – Assemblée nationale". Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  5. ^