The German Constitutional Court blocked the ratification of the Recovery fund

Time.news – A new obstacle to the Recovery Fund has come from the German Constitutional Court. The Karlsruhe judges have indicated to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier that he will not be able to proceed with the ratification of the 750 billion euro fund launched by the EU for the recovery of Europe economically devastated by the coronavirus hurricane until a ruling on the same court.

The paradox is that the stop arrives on the day when the Federal Council – the Laender chamber – has unanimously given its green light to the imposing post-pandemic aid package, which has already had a green light since Bundestag with an overwhelming majority. A parliamentary process concluded, in short, which lacked only the signature of the head of state.

As explained in Karlsruhe, the decision to suspend ratification is linked to the presentation of various appeals, in particular that of the “Buergerwille” (ie “citizens’ will”) association linked to Bernd Lucke – the anti-euro economist and founder, then resigned, of the Afd, the ultra-right party – according to whom the possibility that the Recovery is financed with own means represents a form of sharing the “inadmissible” debt in Germany, the which would face “incalculable financial risks” in the long run.

According to Lucke’s alliance on its website, the appeal is signed by 2281 German citizens: worried, apparently, that other EU member states – financially weaker than Germany – may not be able to repay their share of the common bond package at the end of the day, with the effect that more economically robust, they are forced to pay out what is owed to creditors.

The issue is not insignificant: the EU Commission can start the admission of credits and payments only when all 27 member countries have in turn ratified the agreement on the Recovery Fund.

The immediate consequence is that Steinmeier’s ratification is blocked until the Karlsruhe judgment. In theory, there is no fixed time frame within which the German Constitutional Court must express itself, but following the presentation of an urgent appeal, the procedure generally does not go beyond three months.

For his part, the Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz he tried to throw water on the fire, stating that the government “is well equipped” to support appeals to the Constitutional Court: “The experience with other similar complaints make me confident that the ratification can be concluded quickly”.

The EU Commission is also convinced of this: we are “confident that the German Constitutional Court will quickly decide on the case of provisional measures”, commented a spokesman. Not only that: the Commission “is convinced of the legitimacy of the decision on own resources”, added the spokesman, according to whom this “has not been questioned by the court”.

In general, according to Brussels, “it is essential that the decision for the Recovery fund is quickly approved by all Member States, especially in light of the challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic”. And again: “The EU objective remains to ensure the completion of the ratification process in all member states by the end of the second quarter of this year”.

In Berlin, a certain optimism prevails about a positive verdict by the Karlsruhe togates: it is difficult to go against such overwhelming parliamentary sovereignty, with a Bundestag that spoke out for two-thirds in favor of the Recovery Fund and a Bundesrat that voted unanimously .

In approving the EU funding system until 2027, the chamber that brings together the Laender it also approved the scheme of the fund for post-pandemic reconstruction, where part of the fund will flow to beneficiary countries in the form of grants, part as loans, through a system of common bonds.

However, the European Commission can start borrowing and making payments only when all 27 states of the European Union have ratified the decision. There is satisfaction in the German government for this step.

Scholz himself, who is also deputy chancellor, spoke of “a clear signal of EU solidarity and strength”, underlining that “in Germany there is a large majority in favor of a solidarity and action-capable Europe. Together we are committed to ensuring that the whole continent comes out of the crisis well and is enabled to face a digital future that is attentive to the climate “.

But in the meantime the attention is all turned towards Karlsruhe: and it is not the first time that the German Constitutional Court has subjected Europe to cold showers, for example by affirming the risk that the sovereignty of Germany (and of the Bundesbank) is limited by the decisions of the ECB: the last time was last year, when the constitutional judges decided to affirm that the ‘quantitative easing’ launched by Mario Draghi in 2015 could violate the mandate of Eurotower itself by not respecting the principle of proportionality.

In addition, Karlsruhe stipulated that the European Central Bank itself had to explain convincingly and within three months the presence of the Bundesbank in the program. In this round, it is believed that the constitutional judges are sensitive to the fact that the vote of the national parliaments of numerous member countries is at stake: the fact is that once again the Old Continent has to remain in suspense.

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