Jean-François Drevet devotes this month's European column to the use of referenda by member states for ratifying treaties or treaty changes decided by the European Union. As he shows, there are a number of stumbling blocks on the referendum route in Europe: the subjects to be voted on may be worded in too complex a fashion; the piecemeal construction of Europe involves frequent treaty changes; the unanimity rule poses problems; and the topics put to a referendum may be hi-jacked by national political issues. Since Ireland is the only country required by its constitution to submit such matters to a referendum, it is not clear that this is the most appropriate way, in the current context, to achieve the ratification of European treaties in the other member states.
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