The president of the SPD, Franz Müntefering, said the SPD and its coalition ally, the Greens, agreed on 29 August to seek a change in the German constitution that would permit a referendum. This would require a two-thirds majority in both the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had previously said on several occasions that the parliament would have the last say on the EU Constitution, since Germany's constitution does not allow for a referendum at the federal level.
Müntefering appealed to the opposition Christian Democrats to support a change in the constitution, since their votes would be needed in parliament for the measure to pass. The Christian Democrats opposed an earlier attempt to introduce popular referenda when they were in power. In an opinion poll in July, 81 percent of those questioned said they would be in favor of a referendum on the EU constitution, and only 16 percent were opposed.
Other countries that will ask their people's opinion on the new Treaty are Britain, France, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta and Sweden have announced that they will seek ratification of the constitution through their parliaments. The new Treaty ratification process will begin after it is signed in Rome on 29 October 2004.