Saturday

13th Apr 2024

German court: Parliament must not be sidelined in future bailouts

  • The court threw out the suits, but said that parliament needs greater oversight (Photo: Al Fed)

Germany's highest court on Wednesday approved the country's participation in the Greek bailout and eurozone rescue fund, throwing out suits attempting to bring a halt to the country’s participation in the first, €110 billion bail-out of Greece and the eurozone’s €750 billion rescue fund.

But the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe also said that the German parliament must have more say when it comes to agreeing further bailout packages.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

There can be no "automatic" payments, said court president Andreas Vosskuhle.

“[The ruling] should not be mistakenly interpreted as a constitutional blank cheque authorising further rescue measures," he said.

“Parliamentary decisions about taxing and spending are a central element of democratic self government under the constitution,” he added in his ruling.

“As representatives of the people, the elected members of parliament thus also need to remain in control over elementary budgetary decisions.”

The ruling was in line with most expectations. Few legal experts believed that the court would side with the team of eurosceptics, led by economist Joachim Starbatty, on the substance of their suit that European bail-outs have been unconstitutional.

Most did however predict that the court would insist that similar future decisions would require the authorisation of the Bundestag, a move that is likely to throw sand in the wheels of Europe’s attempts to react to market pressures rapidly without having to wait for the slow wheels of parliamentary processes to turn.

German chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the ruling saying it confirmed her government's European policies.

"The Federal Constitutional Court said personal responsibility and solidarity, naturally with the absolute approval of the parliament, is the way," she said.

The European Commission said it had "taken note with satisfaction" of the court's ruling adding that the decision had "an important bearing" on the capacity of the eurozone to "surmount" the debt crisis.

Responding to the ruling, Jannis Emmanouilidis, an EU institutional expert with the European Policy Centre think-tank, said: "The Karlsruhe verdict does allow the EU to move on, especially since it is coupled with an increasing commitment in Berlin to a long-term solution of the crisis."

"The Court's decision will allow the rescue programmes to go ahead and provide the grounds for implementing the already- adopted instruments and measures aiming to enhance economic governance," he continued.

"But the most significant development in recent weeks and months is the growing realisation that all this will not be enough: either the euro zone moves towards a fully-functioning Economic and Monetary Union or one crisis will follow the other until maintaining the common currency becomes untenable."

Germany's top court to decide on Greek bailout

Germany’s highest court is on Wednesday due to give its verdict on the legality of Berlin’s contribution to both Greece’s first bailout and the eurozone rescue fund.

Brussels: No plans being made for Greek default

The European Commission has denied it is making preparations for a Greek default after a series of comments by German authorities indicated Berlin is readying itself for precisely such a situation.

Merkel coalition easily passes EU rescue-fund vote

In a major domestic victory German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Bundestag - the country’s lower house of parliament - has robustly backed a strengthening of the eurozone’s multi-billion euro rescue fund.

UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'

EU and UK negotiators said that a new post-Brexit settlement for Gibraltar was just weeks away from completion following four-way talks in Brussels on Friday (12 April).

Ukraine's farmers slam EU import controls on food products

The paradoxical move to tighten EU import controls on agricultural goods from Ukraine, despite the EU's vocal support for Kyiv, has sparked criticism from Ukrainian farmers. Overall, it is estimated the new measures could cost the Ukrainian economy €330m.

Opinion

Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation

As Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos just reclaimed the title of the richest person on Earth, its workers cannot even take a bathroom break under the pressure of meeting inhumane performance targets.

Opinion

The Bolsonaro-Orbán far-right nexus

Defeated far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has given various reasons for sheltering at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia — none of them make sense.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us