European Union and National Referendums: Need for Change after the Brexit Vote?
This article compares the referendums in France and the
Netherlands on the Constitutional Treaty and the Irish referendum on the Lisbon
Treaty with the Brexit vote. It is argued that the results have hinged on two
key factors: voters perceive the EU as an agent for economic internationalization
and increased competition, and there is a low level of understanding of the EU.
The article then turns to solutions. The basic bargain where the EU took
responsibility for bolstering economic growth while the distribution of the
gains was left for the Member States may need revisiting. Further, Europeans
need to be educated to become Union citizens, like the Member States educate
their nationals for national citizenship. However, such a heightened role for
the EU for redistribution and education, traditionally bastions of the Member
States, raises uncomfortable questions about the competences and the nature of
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