Germany’s Failing Court

The German Federal Constitutional Court’s PSPP judgment depends on three intricate principles that the Court says are implicit in the German constitution, to such an extent that they are ‘unamendable’ under the ‘eternity’ clause of Article 79. These principles, however, are unique to Germany and unfamiliar in other European jurisdictions. Thereby the German Court has taken a ultimately illegitimate turn towards a narrow and inward interpretation of its constitution, which inexplicably neglects its European dimension. Given the potential effects of Germany’s apparent defiance of EU law and in light of the current ongoing discussions about the desired increased burden-sharing among the winners and losers of the Eurozone, the internal constitutional argument in Germany is a matter of great significance for the future of the Eurozone.

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At the End of the Law

The recent judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court needs to be regarded from the perspective of political economy as it highlights that the status quo of the Eurozone is untenable. The merits of the Weiss judgment could be to open up a debate about the requirements of a genuine European Economic and Monetary Union in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

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Is it a Dance or is it Chicken?

I cut my teeth studying the German Constitutional Court’s relationship with the European Court of Justice. A recent article in the Financial Times used the metaphor of a dance to explain the GCC’s history of pushing back against the ECJ’s authority. In 2001, I called it a game of chicken. I don’t worry that playing chicken with the ECJ inevitably leads to European disintegration. The GCC’s ECB ruling is, however, the wrong decision issued at the wrong time. Economic policy-makers will and should ignore the ruling, and for this reason I expect the GCC to step back from the brink, once again. But harm is nonetheless being inflicted on a tottering global economy, a fragile European project, and a disintegrating popular support for the rule of law.

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Fight, flight or fudge?

Karlsruhe’s latest judgement on the PSPP moves the German state closer to a full-fledged fight with either the EU or its own Constitutional Court by threatening to prohibit Germany’s participation in a programme that has existential significance for the euro. To resolve this dilemma, perhaps nothing short of a revolutionary moment would be required.

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The Right Question about the FCC Ultra Vires Decision

Instead of re-opening the old debate on the merits and demerits of constitutional pluralism, the FCC decision should be actually taken up as an opportunity to concentrate on another systemic feature of the EU constitutional governance. The decision of the FCC is not a sign that we have a problem with constitutional pluralism in Europe but warns us that we have a major constitutional problem with the constitutional role of the ECB.

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Ultra schwierig

„Legal nationalism“, „BVerfG goes nuclear“, „konfuses Urteil“ – trifft die schrille Kritik wirklich den Kern dieses Urteils? Nüchtern betrachtet bleibt es ein aufsehenerregendes Urteil, das aber weder einen kategorialen Bruch des gewachsenen Kooperationsverhältnisses zwischen Karlsruhe und Luxemburg bedeutet, noch der EZB eine ordoliberale Zwangsjacke verabreicht.

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COVID-19 and the European Central Bank: The Legal Foundations of EMU as the Next Victim?

The ECB announced on the 18th of March an ambitious further roll-out of its asset purchase programme (the ‘Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme’ or PEPP), promising to invest up to 750 billion euro in Eurozone asset and debt instruments. The PEPP programme signals both the increasing redundancy of the legal framework governing EMU and an opportunity to develop a new one in its place.

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