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Europe in QuestionReferendums on European Integration$
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Sara Binzer Hobolt

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199549948

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549948.001.0001

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Lessons and Future Challenges

Lessons and Future Challenges

(p.233) 9 Lessons and Future Challenges
Europe in Question

Sara Binzer Hobolt (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This concluding chapter summarizes the key arguments and findings of the book. It discusses the normative and policy implications of this study, focusing particularly on the issue of voter competence and the arguments for and against direct democracy. It also offers some general thoughts and recommendations on the use of direct democratic institutions in the European Union. Specifically, it evaluates the proposal to hold Europe‐wide referendums in light of the evidence presented in this book. It concludes that while such referendums should not be viewed as a panacea for the democratic deficit in the Union, they could facilitate Europe‐wide debate and political participation. Moreover, evidence from past referendums has shown that voters tend to make competent decisions when they are provided with sufficient information.

Keywords:   democratic deficit, demos, direct democracy, European Union, institutions, legitimacy, participation, referendums, representation, voter competence

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