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'The yes is as weak as the but'

Published: 13 Sep 2012 10:34 GMT+02:00

"With its broad rejection of the urgent suits against the ESM and the European Fiscal Compact, the Constitutional Court has practically given the German government a free hand to continue its course on saving the euro," wrote Ludwig Greven in Die Zeit weekly newspaper.

But there are caveats. The government cannot extend Germany's guarantee limit of €190 billion without the express permission of parliament, and must keep parliament informed of any bailout loans to debt-stricken eurozone countries.

This meets one of the central demands of the court petitioners, who included the Bavarian conservative Peter Gauweiler, the socialist Left party, plus a campaign of some 37,000 Germans.

And Greven spotted an undercurrent of criticism in the court's judgement. "From the verdict one can glean that the judges have a few doubts whether the draft of the ESM treaty sticks to its own principles on one or two points," he said. But crucially, he said, the judges made clear that deciding this was up to the government.

Heribert Prantl of the left-leaning Süddeutsche Zeitung daily was more cutting. "The Karlsruhe verdict on the ESM and the Fiscal Compact dodges the most important questions," he wrote. "It's another 'yes-but' judgement. But this time the yes is just as weak as the but."

Prantl said the court's attempt to limit Germany's financial backing for the euro rescue would not succeed. "The Karlsruhe verdict does not get Europe any further, it does not get Germany any further, and it does not get democracy further either," he wrote.

The conservative Die Welt said the judgement only opened the door to further lawsuits. "[Court President Andreas Voßkuhle] admitted that the Constitutional Court is just groping around in the same fog we're all groping around in," wrote Thomas Schmid.

"The court has to pretend that it moves exclusively in the realm of the law, and not in actual reality," he added. "That's why it could not comment on the fact that the European Central Bank decided to buy unlimited government bonds just six days before the verdict."

Essentially, wrote Schmid, the court was admitting that "it was just another player in the European game, and not the most powerful one."

Reinhard Müller, of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily, also thought the court clearly took it as "an affront" that the ECB announced its government bonds scheme shortly before the ruling was announced.

"The central bank is independent, but it is not above the law," he wrote. "It cannot be dependent on any government, but it is not a government itself. This is where the court shut up shop - before deciding on the main thing - the ECB's programme."

"What is clear, and here we can see the 'strong signal' of this verdict - Germany cannot allow itself to be pushed around. Berlin has to take one step at a time, under Karlsruhe's watch."

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:05 September 13, 2012 by smart2012
It is so funny to see how much fuzz has been made and it is ongoing about something already agreed in may, just to keep supporting German uber alles thinking. Btw, do u know that club med Italy will put 126 billion in the ESM fund??? Just to remind Bild readers...
16:50 September 13, 2012 by sonriete
@smart2012;

True club med Italy will put 126 billion into ESM, every cent of it borrowed from the ECB for higher interest rates than the ESM will turn around and lend it back to them. It gets better and better.
18:02 September 13, 2012 by smart2012
and club med france will put 143 billion... also the same? So two club med France + Italy (143+126=269 billion) are actually putting more money than germany in ESM.... please say it to the bild readers... and whatever the money comes, most are paid by French and Italian tax payers oder?
20:39 September 13, 2012 by schneebeck
Germany is one country.

You can't just combine a couple countries to make your figures look better. That is deceiving propaganda, just like what the Bild does.

France, as one country is not contributing more than the one country of Germany.

Italy, as one country is not contributing more than the one country of Germany.

Germany contributes 190 million to the ESM.

German population 82 million contributes 190 billion Euros.

France population 66 million contributes 143 billion Euros.

Italy population 61 million contributes 125 billion Euros.

Per capita, Germany contributes the most, but not by much.

But I don't think Germany will ever need funding from the ESM, but I do think France and Italy will.
20:59 September 13, 2012 by sonriete
The fact is since everyone is in deficit all the countries taxpayers are not forking over a cent, it is all being put on the tab for future generations.

The Germans will pay much lower interest rates for this experiment because the markets have far more faith that the Germans will keep their promises.

It is worth noting that the Germans still have a lower debt to GDP than the French, even thought the Germans paid the enormous cost of re unification on their own, being net payers to the Brussels purse the entire time.

The French ran up greater debts by having their successive governments of both right and left treat their people to Government funded luxuries Germans can only dream of.

Take a look at the Hollande budget proposals, the claim that they will keep their promises and also get their national deficit under 3% per annum within the next 50 years are laughable.

They are simply licking their chops waiting for their Eurobond treats to keep the party going.
23:17 September 13, 2012 by smart2012
Guys, stop with escuses and if and maybe and perhaps. French and Italian are paying the same amount as germans. This should be a headline in bild ... Never...
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