georgeob1, yes, the new interest in referendums is definitely an expression of a sense of frustration about "establishing an indisputably authentic expression of the pubic will", i'd say - the call for referendums becomes louder as the sense of estrangement from government becomes bigger.
The background of this estrangement can be of varying kinds. Here in Holland, for example, we had eight years of a left-centre-right government that left little parliamentary opposition of any clear political profile; an excess in consensualism, perhaps, that led to the revival both of fringe parties and calls for stuff like referendums.
But yes, you're also right about "Europe" playing an important role. We go through minutely and extravagantly publicized election cycles for national and regional parliaments that in fact have ever less to decide over, as the real power is increasingly devolved up to the European level - away from one's vote's effects. This sense that, you can't change anything about what they do, anyway, definitely plays a role.
One issue I would like to take up with you, though, is about how "public will" <giggles - sorry, only now see your spelling mistake> is most authentically expressed in the context of EU politics. You mention the national governments as the more representative, the more "authentic" thus, I gather; contrasted with the bureaucratic body of the EC and the EU legislature.
One could make the opposite case - well, at least concerning an ideal scenario of full potentials. The EC does
at least correspond to a European legislature - and in its policies and measures thus is accountable to a directly elected parliament. (Only thing lacking there is the still incomplete authorities of that parliament).
The voice of the national governments, in the context of EU policies, on the other hand de facto comes down to my PM (who isn't even elected) going to Thessaloniki to hammer it out with other government leaders - delegated by "The Netherlands" with a carte blanche to conduct his negotiations. And the only accountability involved there is that theoretically, my national parliament could subsequently throw out the entire deal they'll reach there, but that's unlikely to happen. So in terms of expressing public will, I'm not necessarily sure the council of government leaders has better cards than the Commission, bureaucratic a monstrum it may indeed be.
Anyway - I'm opening an entire thread about this, so do come visit (you'll be among the few, I suspect, dry as the matter is): http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8031