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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

8 - ‘Who’s Afraid of the European Demos?’

from Part II - The Crisis as a Crisis of the EU’s Political and Democratic Legitimacy


In the midst of the multifaceted crisis the European Union (EU) is currently experiencing, almost every recent referendum held on European issues has been regarded as another crack in European unity. Not only have the questions addressed to the people – as well as the respective political campaigns – touched upon key areas of the European crisis such as finance and migration; the answers finally delivered were often also unexpected and sometimes even shocking from a European integration point of view.

The Greek ‘no’ to the bailout referendum in July 2015 and the Danish ‘no’ to an opt-out referendum six months later were followed in 2016 by a Dutch ‘no’ to the Ukraine–EU Association Agreement, by a Hungarian (invalid) ‘no’ to EU refugee-relocation quotas and, of course, by the famous Brexit referendum; the British ‘no’ to the EU itself.