Monday, 23 May 2016

Referendums in the EU

This article reveals that referendums in member states relating to EU matters are more frequent than one would have thought. It includes a useful table which goes back to 1972 and thus includes our earlier referendum on membership.

The summary hits the spot:

Despite the increased interest in some states, referendums remain controversial. On the one hand, advocates of direct democracy stress that referendums can, inter alia, foster citizens’ engagement and thereby improve legitimacy and governance. Critics, on the other hand, highlight the pitfalls of referendums. Especially in the aftermath of the French and Dutch rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in 2005, they suggest, inter alia, that in referendums voters tend to answer questions other than those on the ballot paper.

Those of us who were justified in our fears for Nick Clegg's AV referendum would heartily agree with the last comment.

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