The Unmaking of a Constitution: Lessons from the European Referenda
DEHOUSSE Renaud - Centre d'études européennes de Sciences Po (Auteur)
151 - 164 p.
The reference to a so-called “European Constitution” rendered recourse to referenda practically inevitable. Because it suggests a radical departure from the past, the term would inevitably affect how the constitutional treaty would be ratified. In a number of countries, the modifications of European treaties must in any case be submitted to a popular vote. In France, the idea of a referendum advanced by a number of personalities such as the president of the European Convention, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, received the approval of leaders of all political groups consulted by the President of the Republic. Jacques Chirac underscored that it was “logical” to consult the people on the future of European institutions. In a period in which distrust in the political class is considerable, opposition to popular consultation risked accusations of elitist arrogance, which no political leader could get away with easily (...).