Home - CIDEL Project - Links - About this site - Contact
Lisbon Treaty
Preparation StageNegotiation Stage Ratification Stage

Constitution (2004)
Preparation StageNegotiation Stage Ratification Stage

Nice Treaty (2001)
Preparation StageNegotiation Stage Ratification Stage
Amsterdam Treaty (1997)
Preparation StageNegotiation Stage Ratification Stage
Maastricht Treaty (1992)
Preparation StageNegotiation Stage Ratification Stage
Single European Act (1986)
Preparation StageNegotiation Stage Ratification Stage
Treaties of Rome (1957)
Preparation StageNegotiation Stage Ratification Stage
Treaty of Paris (1951)
Preparation StageNegotiation Stage Ratification Stage
Case LawBibliography
Home > The Lisbon Treaty > Ratification Stage >France
Preparation StageNegotiation StageRatification Stage


1972: EU - Enlargement (Yes 68 % - No 32 % - Turnout 60 %)
1994: Treaty of Maastricht (Yes 51 % - No 49 % - Turnout 70 %)
2005: European Constitution (Yes 45,13% - No 54,87% - Turnout 69,34%)



Binding referendum provided if constitutional amendment effected or ordered by presidential plebiscite.



Approval of transfer of sovereignty without effect of constitutional amendment:
Majority of both chambers, Art. 53, 46 ConstFrance.

Approval of transfer of sovereignty with effect of constitutional amendment:
Previous constitutional amendment required, Art. 54 ConstFrance. Limit for transfer is the integracy of state and the republican form of government, Art. 89 IV ConstFrance.

Approval of constitutional amendment:
Majority from both chambers and a referendum on constitutional amendment, Art. 89 ConstFrance. Referendum is not called if both chambers foregathered by proposal of the president as the Congress approves constitutional amendment with majority of 3/5 of the votes, Art. 89 III ConstFrance.

Other constitutional regulations about referendums:
By proposal of the government or a joint proposal of both chambers the president can call a referendum on any law that substitutes the approval of the chambers. This presidential plebiscite can only be called for approval of international treaties if constitutional amendment is not effected, Art. 11 ConstFrance.



Eurobarometer (2006), The Future of Europe - Results for France, Special Eurobarometer 251, Fieldwork: 23/02 – 15/03 2006. (PDF)

  • On 14.09.2007 Le Figaro reported that French Europe Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet has suggested deleting the article in the French Constitution which obliges the country to hold a referendum on any future enlargement of the EU. He said the obligation for a referendum could “put France in difficulty regarding countries which have an indisputable and undisputed vocation to join the EU, like Macedonia or the Balkans.” The French Ministry for Foreign Affairs said “The idea is not to get rid of the referendum but to allow the head of State to choose between that and ratification by parliamentary vote.”
  • France expects to ratify the European Union's new treaty in February 2008, becoming one of the first countries to adopt the text after it is signed in Lisbon, officials said on 12.12.2007. President Nicolas Sarkozy said that he wanted France to be among the first to ratify the new text, to prove that the French are "back in Europe". French lawmakers are to gather for a special congress on February 4 to revise the constitution, paving the way for the ratification of the Lisbon treaty, said Pierre Lequiller, in charge of European affairs at the National Assembly. (EUbusiness.com)
  • On 31.01.2008 French senators adopted of the constitution to allow the Lisbon treaty to be ratified by parliament, despite criticism that it should be voted on in a referendum. The measure's adoption -- by a vote of 210 to 48 with 62 abstentions -- clears the way for its final adoption by both houses on February 4. With the lower house, the Assemblee Nationale, having also approved the measure by a large margin two weeks before, its adoption is nearly assured. That would allow the Assemblee Nationale to vote on February 7 on the Lisbon treaty, followed by the Senate. Senators from the opposition Socialist Party abstained from voting as their counterparts did in the Assemblee Nationale, arguing the EU treaty should be ratified by referendum.
  • On 04.02.2008 French MPs have voted in favour of amending their country's constitution to allow adoption of the EU Lisbon Treaty. Prime Minister Francois Fillon called the decision: "a vote that distinguishes the actors of history from the spectators." The assembly, bringing together both the French Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, voted 560 to 181. Of the 893 voters present, 741 votes were cast.
    The opposition Socialists, while in favour of the treaty, largely abstained in protest at the decision to "take the parliamentary road" to pass the treaty rather than hold a referendum. Although ahead of the vote, the Socialists had announced they were all to abstain, many voted for the amendment and many voted against.
  • On 07.02.2008 the national assembly (336 in favour and 52 against) and on 08.02.2008 the senate (265 in favour, 42 against and 13 abstentions) voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty. The socialists and their allies who had criticised Mr Sarkozy for choosing the parliamentary rather than the referendum route, nonetheless largely voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty.
    France's Europe Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet described it as a "historic moment" opening a fresh chapter in France's relations with the EU as it prepares to take over the six-month presidency of the bloc in July. "This is excellent news, a great victory for France which has gone from being the country holding up Europe to being the one that pulled Europe out of gridlock," said Sarkozy's spokesman David Martinon







vote in the national parliament



On 07.02.2008 the national assembly (336 in favour and 52 against) and on 08.02.2008 the senate voted in favour of the treaty (265 in favour, 42 against and 13 abstentions)



Schild, J. (2007), Sarkozys Europapolitik: Das zunehmende Gewicht der Innenpolitk, integration, 3/07, Juli 2007. (German) (PDF)

Vetters, R. (2007), The Constitutional Debate Revisited: Patterns of Public Claims-Making in Constitutional Debates in France and Germany 2001-2005, Draft Paper for the ARENA Seminar on September 25th, 2007. (PDF)


© Carlos Closa 2003 - Design by Eduardo Jáuregui. Edited by Mario Kölling
Doctorado en Unión Europea