Karlsruhe approves ECB's crisis policy

Germany's Constitutional Court has rejected legal challenges against the ECB's bond-buying programme while at the same time emphasizing the legal restrictions for its implementation. Some commentators see the decision as an endorsement of the ECB's role and a positive signal for Europe. Others criticise it as interference by the judges.

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El Mundo (ES) /

Backing at a crucial moment

The decision from Karlsruhe is a clear and well-timed declaration of support for the ECB, El Mundo comments:

“This reaffirmation of the ECB's monetary policy is of fundamental importance at a time when Euroscepticism is gaining ground in many parts of the European Union, along with the rise of left- and right-wing populism. … Germany's Constitutional Court has approved a monetary policy that played a key role in helping the peripheral countries of the EU emerge from the crisis. This decision represents a defeat for the Eurosceptics at a critical moment for the EU: just two days before the British referendum and at a time when it is more crucial than ever to strengthen the role of the supranational institutions.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Central bank must maintain credibility

Despite Karlsruhe's green light for the ECB's bond-buying programme the latter must not be misused to achieve economic policy goals, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung warns:

“The fact that the ECB plans to pursue a standardised monetary policy for the entire Eurozone does not mean the central bank must guarantee that this policy will have the same impact in every member state. The governments of the Eurozone member states pursue different economic policies, and different regulations apply for their labour, assets and financial markets. … The more monetary and economic policy are merged, the more the relationship between the ECB, the euro countries and the EU will be defined by political cooperation. This carries the risk that the priority of price stability will be replaced, or at least displaced, by other goals. That could lead to the central bank losing credibility and in the worst case independence.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Judges slowing down Europe's development

The German Constitutional Court ruling could harm a sustainable monetary policy, the Financial Times fears:

“Thus far, Karlsruhe has generally contented itself with issuing warnings about the future conduct of policy rather than attempting directly to strike down policies as contrary to the German Basic Law, or constitution. But this in itself may be enough to retard the development of a fiscal union or other forms of central governance necessary to make the single currency work in the long run. ... No one doubts the Karlsruhe court has the right to rule about the constitutionality of EU law as it applies to Germany. But it must take into account the need for predictability and continuity in the conduct of monetary policy across the eurozone as a whole.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Wrong place for a debate on EU's future

It is not the task of the German Constitutional Court to debate how Europe should deal with the financial crisis, Die Welt criticises:

“Can a court set legally well-considered obstacles for the ECB with no consideration for the potentially catastrophic economic consequences? No. Because the Constitutional Court doesn't live in an ivory tower either. The courtroom is not the place for working out ECB crisis measures - provoked then as now by inactive politicians and the financial markets. What Europe needs, and what Europe's increasingly Eurosceptic citizens expect, is a political debate about the future of the continent. What do the people expect from this community of values? Unfortunately this debate is not taking place.”