German court slams government over ESM

Julian Harris
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OPPOSITION MPs in Germany won a victory over Angela Merkel’s coalition yesterday as the country’s top court ruled that the government did not sufficiently consult parliament over plans for the Eurozone’s permanent bailout scheme.

Chancellor Merkel’s government hit back, however, insisting that the decision will not prevent the ratification of new laws surrounding the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

“I see no concrete impact on the current parliamentary proceedings on the ESM and fiscal pact. There will be no delay in ratification,” said Nobert Barthle, the parliamentary spokesman on budget affairs for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.
“It is about the information that is given to the Bundestag in the future,” Barthle added.

Nonetheless, the decision was a strong slap on the wrist for Merkel’s administration. The government had “violated the rights of the German parliament to be informed,” the constitutional court said in a statement.

Europe hopes to have the ESM in effect from 1 July, yet cannot do so unless it is ratified by Germany’s parliament, where it requires a two-thirds majority.

The opposition Social Democratic Party praised the court’s verdict, with MP Thomas Oppermann calling it a “great day for parliamentary democracy”. Future attempts to install bailout structures must be more accountable, he said.

Thirteen of the 17 member states using the single currency have yet to ratify the measure.

Finland, where politicians have been particularly demanding over the conditions for further bailouts, is one of the countries where a vote will be held this week.