Referendum on EU Constitution Still Open Issue

Yle Uutisten artikkeliarkisto

The constitutional affairs committee of the Finnish Parliament has left the door open to a referendum on the new EU constitution.

In hearings on Friday, the majority of experts called before the committee favoured allowing voters to have a say in whether or not Finland should approve the constitution once its form is finalised by EU governments. But, only a few of the experts argued that a referendum is required by law.

However, Parliament's constitutional affairs committee underlined that a decision on a referendum will be made after a process of political consideration. The need for approval by the nation's voters will not be clear until the results of the upcoming EU Inter-Governmental Conference have been seen.

According to the committee's chairperson, Conservative MP Kimmo Sasi, the rationale for a referendum will be strengthened if the proposed constitution undermines the position of smaller countries in the EU decision-making process, or if the balance of power is significantly shifted from member states to the union.

The committee also declined to take a position on what kind of majority would be required in Parliament to ratify an EU constitution.