Policy Paper 141

The EU and referenda: structural incompatibility?

Do the political follow up to the Greek referendum of Jyly 5 2015 reveal a seeming inconsistency between the EU and the will of its peoples? This Policy Paper by Yves Bertoncini and Nicole Koenig answers this question on the basis of an analysis of the 48 referenda organised on European issues since the 1970’s.

It is particularly important to debate the seeming inconsistency between the outcome of the referendum which Athens held on 5 July and the content of the agreement trashed out on Greece so as to check whether it would reveals a contradiction between the EU and the will of its peoples.

This is the purpose of this Policy Paper by Yves Bertoncini and Nicole Koenig, based on four complementary analyses:
1.  European Construction and Referenda: a fairly harmonious conciliation
2.  Getting 28 Member States To Agree: what denial of democracy(ies)?
3.  The Greek referendum on 5 July 2015: a very specific case
4.  The agreement won by A. Tsipras isn’t identical to the one that his people rejected

This Policy Paper underlines that there is no inconsistency between national referenda and decisions made by the European authorities, including as regards the Greek case, particularly atypical when compared with all the 55 referenda on European issues. It also leads to recall that several different national political wills have of necessity to coexist side by side in the Federation of Nation States that is the EU, and which no referendum will ever be able to change.