Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Deutschland über alles

Margaret Thatcher should be enjoying this action of the German Supreme Court;
Can the European Central Bank legally act as lender of last resort to ensure the survival of the euro?
This question is of fundamental importance for the sustainability of the monetary union. Recently, the German Constitutional Court ruled that it cannot. In the court’s view the ECB has the power to conduct monetary policy, but not to support member states in financial distress even if necessary to ensure the survival of the common currency.
It follows that the ECB’s announcement of September 2012, to buy the sovereign debt of member states on secondary markets in unlimited amounts to fend off speculative attacks against individual member states (outright monetary transactions, or OMT), may be beyond its powers, or ultra vires.
The Germans are simply saying that they didn't cede their sovereignty by joining the EU. And they invited the Brussels Boys to challenge them;
Mario Draghi’s announcement that the ECB would do “everything it can within its mandate” to support the euro effectively asserts the ECB as the ultimate power wielder. Not surprisingly, this is viewed with great scepticism, especially in Germany. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann supported the current constitutional claim. By taking recourse to the German judiciary he conceded that short of exiting the Eurosystem, Germany, or its central bank, no longer has the unilateral power to determine where its obligations end. The Constitutional Court’s expansive interpretation of its own jurisdiction can be seen as an attempt to regain it.
Viewed in this light, the preliminary referral to the E[uropean] C[ourt of] J[ustice] is window dressing. It’s a friendly gloss on the quest to be the ultimate power in the euro’s survival. 
It's always August 1938.

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