A Sisyphean Struggle: Portugal’s Referendum on European Integration

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Portugal is one of a handful of Member States which has never held a referendum on European integration. This chapter analyses Francisco Lucas Pires’ contribution to the broad political consensus reached in Portugal on the need to hold a referendum legitimizing the shift towards political integration envisioned by the Treaty of Maastricht. One of his last books, “Amsterdam – From the Market to the European Society”, is a political and legal manifesto in support of the ratification of the Treaty of Amsterdam in the run-up to what was expected to be the first Portuguese referendum on European integration. However, legal and political constraints blocked this, and every subsequent, attempt to grant the Portuguese people a direct say on Europe. This chapter explains why calling a referendum on Europe in Portugal has transformed itself into a saga that resembles the mythological Sisyphean task.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhat Market, What Society, What Union?
Subtitle of host publicationThe European Thought of Francisco Lucas Pires, 20 years later
EditorsMartinho Lucas Pires, Francisco Pereira Coutinho
PublisherT. M. C. Asser Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-6265-371-9
ISBN (Print)978-94-6265-370-2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Constitutional Treaty
  • European Union
  • Francisco Lucas Pires
  • Portugal
  • Portuguese Constitution
  • Referendum
  • Treaty of Amsterdam


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