The European Union, the Political Class, and the People
The Maastricht Treaty was ratified with very large majorities in the legislatures of all the member states of the Community. 1 In Belgium it gained in the lower house a majority of 146 to 33 with 3 abstentions, and in the Senate a majority of 115 to 26 with 1 abstention. In France the treaty received a majority of 388 to 43 on second reading in the Assembly, and a vote of 592 to 73 in the joint Congress of both houses needed for constitutional amendments, easily exceeding the three-fifths majority required by the Constitution. In Germany the Bundestag endorsed the treaty by 543 to 17 with 8 abstentions, in Greece Parliament voted 286 to 8 with 1 abstention, and in Spain by 314 to 3 with 8 abstentions, and, in the Senate, by 222 to 0 with 3 abstentions.
Even in the two member states widely regarded as the most sceptical towards membership of the Union--Britain and Denmark--their legislatures endorsed the treaties by large majorities. In Denmark the Folketing, by contrast with 1986, when there was no majority for the Single European Act, voted 130 to 25 in favour of it with 1 abstention and 23 absentees, while in Britain there was a second-reading majority of 244 in the House of Commons in favour of ratification.
Superficially, such large majorities would seem to be in line with the views of the electorates of the member states as reflected in the Eurobarometer surveys which have sought to evaluate public opinion in the European Community since 1974. Writing in 1991 and comparing the trend of public opinion in nine member states, excluding Greece, Portugal, and Spain, which did not join the Community until the 1980s, Inglehart and Reif found that 'a sense of solidarity among the nine nations of the EC has emerged--Today, the prospect of an EC that is united, not only economically, but also politically, is no idle dream. To