Country Information

This section provides information about the EU countries. Currently eleven states have decided to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution. The question is still undecided in eight member states, while in five countries it seems to be unlikely, that a referendum will be held. The Parliament of Lithuania has already ratified the constitution.

 

NINE OUT OF TEN HAVE NO IDEA


Preface: The referendum on the EU Constitution in Spain will be at February 20, 2005. It will be the first referendum on that issue followed by nine others across Europe. Due to the lack of a real debate on the EU Constitution we expect the yes-side to win with 80% or higher. A lower result for the yes-side would be a big surprise. But anyway, less than two month before the referendum nine out of ten Spaniards have no idea what's it all about.


THE STORY OF AN UNFAIR CAMAPAIGN


The government that can be sure to win the referendum could be a bit more relaxed and provide either a fair campaign or better keep itself out of the decision making process. What they deliver, however, is a completely biased propaganda storm for the yes-side. This was even critsized by the National Electoral Commission.

Read a CHRONOLOGY OF THE EVENT as reported by our Spanish partners ‘Otra Democracia Es Posible‘ (Another Democracy Is Possible):

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11 FEBRUARY 2005
Spanish Supreme Court postpones the decision on the "preventive measurements” claimed by AnotherDem on the 24th February.
Today the Spanish Supreme Court has informed AnotherDem of a period of ten labour days before the involved parties may submit their arguments on which a deciding on the claimed preventive measures can be made:

The claimed measures are:
1. to suspend the campaign, supposedly informative, of the Spanish Government - 2. to suspend the campaign, supposedly informative, of the website of the Spanish Government - 3. to ban the indiscriminate use of the emblem and flag of the EU in the electoral campaigns. - 4. An effective removal of the material including the illicit slogan: "We, the first one with Europe".

With this ten days period the court has chosen the longest legal possible duration. It will end four days AFTER (!!!) the referendum and is therefore absolute nonsense.

11 FEBRUARY 2005
The Spanish National Electoral Body agreed that they “take note” of the big report about the illicit propaganda of the institutional campaign
sent to them by AnotherDem at 31st of January. No more consequences derived out of this promise. - (See below (31st Jan) for the report)

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10 FEBRUARY 2005
Spanish government tries to ban all civil demonstrations against the European Constitution

Following guidelines of the National Electoral Body the delegation of the Spanish Government in Catalonia has carried out the first measure to ban a demonstration called by the "Platform for the vote NO" against the European Constitution. It was planned at 12 February at 19:00 in the University Square.

The authorization was refused by stating that “only political parties have the right to call for demonstrations during the electoral campaign”. The "Platform for the vote NO" could not appeal against the ban because it was materially no possible, as counterclaims have to be submitted within the next 24 hours. Info

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7 FEBRUARY 2005
AnotherDem complains at the Supreme Court about the National Electoral Commission due to omission of its duties. The passiveness of this institution concerning proofs of an unfair campaign of the Spanish Government provoked AnotherDem to submit this appeal.

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31 JANUARY 2005
AnotherDem submits a new appeal to the National Electoral Committee. In a 50-page report they substantiate their claim to shut down the campaigns of the Spanish Government, the European Commission and the General Council of the Spanish Lawyers. They also lament the disproportionate use of emblems and the flag of the European Union. See the complete report in Spanish language (pdf)

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29 JANUARY 2005
After some minor corrections were done by the government, the National Electoral Commission tries to escape its responsibilities by filing away the appeal by the left-wing party IU-ICV against the institutional information campaign.

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27 JANUARY 2005
An appeal to the National Electoral Commission is submitted by the coordinating committee of over 200 vote-no organizations. They complain about attacks, police-intolerance (agresiones, intolerancia policial) and censorship in public media.

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25 JANUARY 2005
The Spanish public, national Radio 5 (news-only) is (mis-)used for an institutional campaign for a YES. Every hour after the main news a campaigning spot is transmitted. In these spots, VIPS talk about the EU Constitution. All of them are unconditionally in favour of the Constitution, providing a clear campaign for the YES vote.

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24 JANUARY 2005
Most opinions stated at the forum of the governmental website (www.constitucioneuropea.es/foro) are vastly against the European Constitution (Source: Europa Press) - Despite that fact censorship goes on. All posts that include links to homepages critical to the EU Constitution are censored.

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21 JANUARY 2005
State Secretary of Communication TRIES TO CENSOR NEWS AGENCY
State Secretary of Communication, Miguel Barroso, did not believe it. The teleprinter of the news agency Servimedia showed a message that the Central Electoral Commission was going to announce shortly that it allows the appeal against the campaign of the government on the European Constitution. Barroso was quite startled, gripped the telephone and “very nervously” asked the people in charge of the news agency to deny the information they were about to publish. Source: elConfidencial.com

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20 JANUARY 2005
The "Center of Juridical Studies Tomás Moro" promises to continue the condemnation of the institutional campaign. Not only because it influences the decision of the citizens; they also request from the government to inform about the complete content of the text that is subject to the referendum, including those articles that bring about a lot of disagreement among the citizens, like the I-41 article that refers to the “preventive war”.

20 JANUARY 2005
There are increasing reports of censorship in the forum of the Spanish Government on the EU Constitution: www.constitucioneuropea.es/foro

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19 JANUARY 2005
The National Electoral Commission bans the slogan of the Government and other elements: "The campaign (...) has to be bound to inform objectively (...) removing all kind of value judgment or slogan (...) and statements that could, directly or indirectly, influence the position or attitude of the citizens." Read more details

19 JANUARY 2005
The “Center of Juridical Studies Tomás Moro” complains at the National Electoral Commission about the unfair nature of the government’s campaign.

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18 JANUARY 2005
Propaganda all over the country
- Just ONE example: In the National House of Deputies Valéry Giscard d'Estaing says: "The answer of the Spaniards" in the referendum is "quite significant for the European process". The EP president, Joseph Borrel, warns from the "risk of abstention" and urges the young student audience to commit themselves to a European construction. MEP and former minister Jaime Mayor Oreja assures the listeners that there will be a yes-vote in Spain. Read more details

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17 JANUARY 2005
‘Otra Democracia Es Posible‘ repeats the complaint at the National Electoral Commission.

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15 JANUARY 2005
Official call for referendum by the government plus launch of the institutional campaign: “In accordance to (...) Ley Orgánica (...) the General Administration of the State will make a campaign of institutional character destined to inform the citizens about the date of the referendum, the procedure to vote and the requirements and proceedings of the vote by mail. (...)"

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14 JANUARY 2005
The ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia) demands the Electoral Commission should stop the intitutional campaign planned by the government to promote the European Constitution.

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10 JANUARY 2005
The appeal is rejected by the National Electoral Commission: "Acts of propaganda happened before the approval of the Royal Decree of calling for referendum are not subjected to the constraints stated by the electoral legislation for the campaign."

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4 JANUARY 2005
Complaints against the government:
The Spanish campaign group 'Otra Democracia Es Posible‘ makes a complaint at the National Electoral Commission (JEC) against the content of the mentioned homepage. - According to OtraDem the website infringes the General Law of Publicity: Publications by government - related to referendums - which are electoral propaganda could be defined as ‘illicit publicity’. The National Electoral Commission (JEC) defines 'propaganda' as “any activities or statements designed to gain or condition the public vote”. Read more details

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DECEMBER 2004
A propaganda homepage is established:
The Spanish government starts its institutional campaign in favour of the EU Constitution with the slogan: “Los Primeros Con Europa” (“We the first with Europe”). - This is accompanied by Zapatero's words like: “(...)Spain (...) takes now the opportunity to show that it is, unambiguous and by a majority, with Europe.(...) Spain will be the first country to ratify the European Constitution by referendum. (...) Now Europe watches us; (...) but I am certain that the Spaniards are going to send a clear message of Europeanism (...)" Read more details

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Spain special



In January 2005 91.7% (!!!) of Spanish citizens say they know LITTLE or NOTHING about the EU Constitution. - At least 42.1% of the Spaniards are still UNDECIDED on what to vote for in the referendum. - See the latest polls from January 2005





Spanish justice minister Juan Fernando López Aguilar according to "libertaddigital"(23 Jan 05): "It is not necessary to read the European Constitution to know that it is good." - No more comments needed!

And Zapatero said on Feb 12: "If you consider yourselves citizens of Europe and want your children to live in a better world vote yes."





This slogan of the institutional campaign that was banned by the National Electoral Commission for not being objective. Read their statement




Do these “media clippings” describe a FAIR campaign? Find out yourself what the media articles show about the governments intentions.





Read a comment by the Spanish no-campaign group ‘Otra Democracia Es Posible‘




Read a comment on the Spanish situation in the EU Observer written by Thomas Rupp, European No Campaign





Download the in-depth briefing about the Spanish situation researched and written by the Centre for a Social Europe