Call for simultaneous referenda on EU membership in all candidate countries

The European Alliance of EU-Critical Movements says referenda on EU membership should be held on the same day in all candidate countries.

The European Alliance of EU-Critical Movements (TEAM) condemned the Visegrad Group decision to co-ordinate their referenda on EU membership in 2003 as a “manipulative way of doing politics”. TEAM believes that “manipulating the dates” will “probably make it even harder for the Yes-side in each country to win the coming referendum”. Instead, the referenda should be held in the same day in all the candidate countries, says TEAM.

At their last summit Castolovice castle in the Czech Republic on 22 August, the presidents of the Visegrad countries agreed that the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia should co-ordinate their EU membership referenda next year so they are held in close succession.

The Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said that if a referendum were first held in Hungary, where pro-EU accession support is estimated at 80 percent, it might encourage voters in Poland and the Czech Republic, where voters are more skeptical, also to vote for EU membership.

The same method was used in the referenda in Austria, Finland, Sweden and Norway in 1994. The method, however, backfired: Norwegian voters rejected EU membership for the second time in November 1994 after the “Yes” vote in the other three countries.

“This way of planning the coming referenda in the applicant countries shows that the Yes-side in each country does not trust the strength of their own arguments. They seem to need other countries Yes-votes as support,” says Gorazd Drevensek, member of TEAM´s Board.


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