The initially proposed EU constitution was rejected by referendums in rance on 29 May 2005 and in The Netherlands on 1 June 2005. It was approved by referendums in Spain on 20 February 2005 and in Luxembourg on 10 July 2005. Six further referendums were postponed or cancelled.
When chancellor Merkel restarted the constitutional process, her main objective was to avoid referendums in all member states other than Ireland (where referendums are mandatory).
Before being elected, French president Nicolas Sarkozy proposed a simple mini treaty instead of the major constitution - to avoid another French referendum.
The new Dutch government in 2007 left it up to the Dutch Parliament to decide whether there would be a new Dutch referendum on the issue.
The Danish government obtained 9 technical changes of the original constitution primarily by extending the Danish opt-outs and has signalled that a Danish referendum maybe could be avoided.
The new British chancellor Gordon Brown has declared in 2007 that his government would avoid a referendum in the UK.
Federalists, EU reformers and Euro sceptics have established a joint campaign for referendums in all EU.