A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Germany top court to hear claims against fiscal pacts

The Constitutional Court of Germany [official website, in German] on Monday announced [press release, in German] that it will hear a claim brought in opposition to the 500 billion euro (USD $632 billion) European Stability Mechanism (ESM) [text, PDF] and the fiscal pact. The main opponent of the agreements is the leftist party Die Linke [party website] which asked the court to consider whether the ESM and the fiscal pact are in compliance with German law. The court set the hearing date for next Tuesday. With the announcement, the court also advised German President Joachim Gauck [BBC profile] to hold off on signing the legislation until the claim is reviewed and decided. If the court rules in favor of the Bundestag [official website, in German], the national parliament, the government would be able to proceed with the agreements as planned, but, if the court issues an injunction on the two pacts, it would delay the procedures by months.

In June, the same court ruled [JURIST report] that the Bundestag has the right to be heard on the European financial crisis. In the case initiated by the Green party, the court held that Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to notify the parliament early enough about plans for the ESM from its sister party in Austria. Although that decision did not have any effect on the 500 billion euro ESM, it increased the parliament's rights by requiring the chancellor's government to provide notice to the parliament as early as possible in the future. A previous ruling that gave the parliament similar rights over matter concerning the EU was issued in February. The country's constitutional court held [JURIST report] that the use of a parliamentary subcommittee to fast-track decisions related to eurozone bailouts is unconstitutional. Rather, it required the entire Bundestag to overview such decisions. In September, the same court ruled [JURIST report] that the parliament did not unconstitutionally impair its own ability to adopt and control the nation's budget, nor did it infringe on the budget autonomy of future parliaments.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.