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Examples of other referendums on the European Union

Published Friday, April 22, 2016

This Commons Library Note charts referendums held since 1972 on EU matters in candidate and Member States, and also in Switzerland on its relations with the EU, with brief details on turnout and results. It also outlines the positions of France and Austria on holding a referendum on EU enlargement, particularly with regard to a possible Turkish accession.

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Greek ‘bail-out’ 2015

  • Turnout 63%
  • YES 38.7%
  • NO 61.3%

 

Danish opt-out 2015

  • Turnout 72%
  • YES 46.9%
  • NO 53.1%

 

A Constitution for Europe 2005

Referendums on the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe were held in France, Netherlands, Spain and Luxembourg.

However, the planned referendums were cancelled in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and the UK following the French and Dutch rejections and the subsequent abandonment of the treaty.

Greenland vote on EEC 1982

Greenland voted on whether to stay in the EEC. The majority voted to withdraw from the Community.

  • Turnout 75%
  • YES 48%
  • NO 52%

 

UK vote on EEC 1975

The UK held a referendum on whether to remain in the EEC, based on renegotiated terms of entry. The majority voted in favour of staying in.

  • Turnout 64%
  • YES 67.2%
  • NO 32.8%

 

Referendums on EU enlargement

France

France held a referendum on the admission of the UK, Denmark, Ireland and Norway to the EEC in 1972. An amendment to the French Constitution was introduced in 2005 which required a referendum to be held on any new EU accession, but in April 2008 the French Government approved the removal of the 2005 obligatory referendum clause.

The Assembly voted in May 2008 to approve an amendment making it compulsory for France to hold a referendum on large countries joining the EU. This was seen as targeting Turkey in particular. In June 2008, the Senate voted to remove the constitutional requirement for a referendum for new accessions. In July it approved a bill allowing the President or Parliament to decide on a nationwide referendum.

Austria

In 3 May 2011, Werner Faymann, Austrian Chancellor, said that Austria would hold a referendum on Turkish accession to the EU. He has said that a referendum on Turkish membership would probably fail, and that talks between the EU and Turkey should focus instead on a “privileged partnership” with Turkey.

 

On joining, candidacy or continued membership

2012

  • Croatia – 22 January 2012 - Turnout 43.5%

 

2003

  • Latvia – 20 September 2003 - Turnout 72.5%
  • Estonia – 14 September 2003 - Turnout 63.0%
  • Czech Republic – 15-16 June 2003 - Turnout 55.2%
  • Poland – 7-8 June 2003 - Turnout 58.9%
  • Slovakia – 16-17 May 2003 - Turnout 52.1%
  • Lithuania – 10–11 May 2003 - Turnout 63.4%
  • Hungary – 12 April 2003 - Turnout 45.6%
  • Slovenia – 23 March 2003 - Turnout 60.3%
  • Malta – 8 March 2003 - Turnout 91%

 

1993-1994

  • Sweden - 13 November 1994 - Turnout 82.4%
  • Finland - 16 October 1994 - Turnout 74%
  • Austria - 12 June 1994 - Turnout 81%
  • Norway - 27-28 November 1994 - Turnout 88.8%
  • Aaland Islands – 20 November 1993 - Turnout 49%

 

1972

  • Norway - 26 September 1972 - Turnout 79.2%
  • Denmark – 3 October 1972 - Turnout 90.1%
  • Ireland – 10 May 1972 - Turnout 71%

 

Further information

Publication details

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7570

Author: Vaughne Miller

Topics: Economic and monetary union, EU enlargement, EU external relations, EU law and treaties

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