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The Difficulty of Justifying European Integration as a Consequence of Depoliticization: Evidence from the 2005 French Referendum

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2013


This article analyses the 2005 French referendum debate on the EU Constitutional Treaty as an instance of depoliticization. Particular emphasis is placed on the argumentative strategy of President Chirac as, despite the treaty's focus on institutional reform, he eventually chose to justify the document in terms of social policy: an ultimately unconvincing strategy because voters believed it was contradicted by current EU policy priorities. On this evidence, pace Glyn Morgan, prioritizing a justification of EU finality over that of institutions and policies does not seem appropriate. Rather, the priority for integration is to overcome elites' strategies of depoliticization during referendum campaigns.

Copyright © The Author(s) 2009.

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