European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen yesterday warned she is considering taking legal action against Berlin after a recent judgement by the Karlsruhe-based court. Last week Germany’s top court gave the ECB just three months to justify its flagship Eurozone stimulus scheme or face the Bundesbank being blocked from participating in it. In a statement, Mrs von der Leyen claimed the judgement had called into question the EU’s single currency and its joint legal system.
“The recent ruling of the German Constitutional Court put under the spotlight two issues of the European Union: the euro system and the European legal system,” she said.
“The final word on EU law is always spoken in Luxembourg. Nowhere else.
“We are now analysing the ruling of the German Constitutional Court in detail.
“And we will look into possible next steps, which may include the option of infringement proceedings.”
The review could see the Brussels-based executive refer the case to the European Court of Justice.
The bloc’s top judges can order a member state to make amends, or face hefty fines.
The landmark case in Germany’s Constitutional Court called into question the supremacy of the ECJ, whose decisions are binding across the 27-nation bloc.
It called for a “proportionality assessment” of the ECB’s bond-buying programme, which the EU’s top court had already approved in 2018.
In a statement, the ECJ insisted it is the only legal body able to determine if an EU institution has violated the bloc’s law.
The Luxembourg-based court said: “In order to ensure that EU law is applied uniformly, the Court of Justice alone – which was created for that purpose by the member states – has jurisdiction to rule that an act of an EU institution is contrary to EU law.”
The row has handed a boost to eurosceptics across the bloc in their arguments for national sovereignty.
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Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said the German ruling was “one of the most important” in history of the EU and established “the ECJ does not have unlimited powers”.
Hungarian justice minister Judit Varga also leapt to praise the decision.
She said it would help cement national sovereignty, insisting “the fact that the Court of Justice of the European Union has been overturned is extremely important”.
But even pro-Brussels politicians have warned the ruling could have long-lasting implications for the EU.
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German MEP Manfred Weber, leader of the influential European People’s Party in the EU Parliament, said: “For me, the ruling shows that in the long run we are on unstable ground for the European Union.
“The supremacy of EU law is at stake, which, for example, keeps the single market together and gives investors the confidence to invest in all corners of Europe.
“Politicians celebrating this ruling show be careful what they wish for.”
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