[JURIST] The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany [official website, in German] on Wednesday rejected a preliminary injunction [judgment, in German; press release, in German] to halt the implementation of the the 500 billion euro (USD $632 billion) European Stability Mechanism (ESM) [text, PDF] and the fiscal compact, but imposed a cap on Germany’s contribution to the fund. The ESM and fiscal compact—measures intended to deal with the European debt crisis in the euro currency area—were called unconstitutional by critics who wanted the measures to be subject to a referendum. The court rejected the injunction request on the condition that Germany’s payment obligations are limited to its share in the fund’s capital stock absent approval of the Bundestag [official website, in German], Germany’s national parliament. The court’s ruling in favor of the Bundestag paves the way for German President Joachim Gauck [BBC profile] to sign the ESM and the fiscal pact [BBC report] into law.
In July the court heard arguments [JURIST report] over a claim brought in opposition to the ESM. In June the court ruled [JURIST report] that the German Bundestag has the right to be heard on the European financial crisis, holding in a case initiated by the Green party that Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to notify the parliament early enough about plans for the ESM regarding 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 matters 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, instead requiring the entire Bundestag to overview such decisions. In September the 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.