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Direct democracy and European integration

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The no-votes in the French and Dutch referendums on the Constitutional Treaty have highlighted the importance of understanding the mechanisms of direct democracy. Despite the increasing use and significance of referendums in the process of European integration, comparative studies of referendums in Europe are still few and many questions concerning direct democracy thus remain unanswered. This article reviews recent advances in the literature on direct democracy and European integration and suggests future avenues for research. To understand the ways in which referendums may influence the European integration process, this article approaches the study of direct democracy from the perspective of voters (how do they decide?) and political élites (which strategies do they adopt?), as well as examining the impact on policy outcomes.

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