The ECB plaintiffs won’t let up

An This Wednesday the ultimatum of the Federal Constitutional Court in the dispute over the bond purchases of the European Central Bank (ECB) expires – and the complainants around the former CSU politician Peter Gauweiler and the AfD founder Bernd Lucke do not seem to be completely convinced that Karlsruhe’s requirements were met. You have requested access to files that the Bundestag has not yet granted.

Now the Federal Constitutional Court should help out; A corresponding request was already received in Karlsruhe on Friday, as a court spokesman confirmed. The reason: According to the complainants, the extensive documents that the ECB has made available to the Federal Government and the Bundestag also contain three documents that are subject to confidentiality.

These have piqued their interest: While the publicly made documents are “trivial in terms of content”, the secret documents deal with the central questions of the proportionality test, emphasized Lucke, i.e. the effects of the PSPP purchase program on private pensions, the savings of private households, on the real estate market and rents, on the stability of banks and sound public financial management.

Weidmann is convincing

This would have been revealed in an exchange of letters between the Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and the President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble. “I don’t understand why these effects are kept secret,” said Lucke. This makes it clear that the legal dispute will continue for a while.

The proceedings for possible violations of fundamental rights are usually ended with the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court, because these have legal force, all constitutional organs, authorities and courts are bound by it. This time, however, the uncertainty is greater because the requirements of a proportionality check leave room for interpretation, especially if not all information is disclosed.

The responsible rapporteur in the proceedings, Peter Huber, had in an interview with the F.A.Z. clarified: “Decisions have to be justified to the public. I don’t really care how that is done. “

Lively debate

That could indicate that the legal dispute is going into a second round. The complainants can insist that the judges in Karlsruhe have to examine more closely whether the requirements of the judgment have been met. However, they will only decide on this once they know the content of the documents.

After the Federal Government and the Bundestag, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann has meanwhile signaled that he considers the demands of the Federal Constitutional Court to be fulfilled. In a controversial ruling in May, the court complained that the ECB had to demonstrate the proportionality of its bond purchases, otherwise the Bundesbank would no longer be allowed to participate in the bond purchases. Since then, there has been a lively debate on how the ECB can meet these requirements without jeopardizing its independence.

“Like the Bundestag and the Federal Government, the board of the Deutsche Bundesbank is of the opinion that this fulfills the requirements of the Federal Constitutional Court from its judgment of May 5,” said a Bundesbank spokesman for the F.A.Z. On 3 and 4 June, the Governing Council, the central bank’s highest monetary policy body, discussed the proportionality of the PSPP bond purchase program and found that the program was also proportionate in terms of its economic policy implications.

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