It is an epic power struggle between the two most powerful courts in Europe and it touches the existential heart of the European project. Is the EU a unitary super-state like the United States, or is it a club of fully sovereign states which remain the “masters of the treaties”, as the German court points out?
The EU’s decision to curb the constitutional Court in Karlsruhe is delayed the retaliation for the dazzling decision of the court last year against the management of the European Central Bank of its bond purchases.
German court ruling concluded that the ECB had acted ultra vires, violating the principle of proportionality by going too far and pursuing a quasi-budgetary policy in violation of EU treaty law.
Court recognizes the rule of EU law as normal practice, but not if it violates German law Basic law, or the fundamental law. The German constitution remains sovereign and the constitutional Court reserves the right to strike out any EU law or treaty.
The escalation of Brussels was perhaps inevitable, given that the ambiguous arrangement of recent decades – part sovereign, part federal – is untenable as the EU gains more power. The supporters of the hard line in Poland and Hungary hide behind the arguments of the German justice system to justify attacking the European institutions.
But it also forces a showdown that could have fateful consequences. Eurosceptics see it as justice Rebellion.
“All EU Member States know that Germany would never have accepted the Lisbon Treaty without this right of scrutiny. Failure to respect democratic principles and the sovereignty of Member States raises doubts about the Commission’s own legitimacy, ”said Peter Gauweiler, Bavarian Conservative and serial litigator at the Court.
The rise in inflation is extremely noticeable in the political anthropology of Germany, not only because of two great debasing catastrophes of 1923 and 1948, but also because the less wealthy Germans have hardly any money. ‘financial assets or inflation hedges.
They generally rent goods rather than buying. They are impoverished by QE in relative terms, left further and further behind as the rich reap windfall profits from soaring stock and real estate prices.
ING’s Carsten Brzeski forecast an inflation peak of 4pc this year. “The question is whether this will lead to a wage-price spiral. I don’t see that happening, but you can make the case, ”he said.
Germans are already on edge after a major report this week warning that the country’s pension system is unsustainable. The net transfer of taxpayer money to southern Europe under the Stimulus Fund is already controversial enough and could prove politically toxic if grants are diverted for cronyism projects. There are already reports from Italy that the Mafia is mobilizing on the funds.