The decision on Wednesday by Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court that clears the way for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to extend its power over the national sovereignty of the eurozone’s member states was celebrated as a victory to save the euro.
It was nothing of the sort. It was instead a political victory for dictatorship in the name of the euro.
By putting some temporary limits on just how much the German government can contribute to the ESM, the decision made it appear to be prudent and careful and protective of Germany’s national sovereignty. The court said that Germany’s contribution cannot exceed the currently agreed to amount of $250 billion without approval by the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament (roughly equivalent to the House of Representatives in the United States). And the court also required that funds given to the ESM must be carefully accounted for.
No permanent mechanisms may be created under international treaties which are tantamount to accepting liability for decisions by the will of other states, above all if they entail consequences which are hard to calculate.
In other words, it sounded as if the court was protecting Germany from outside decisions, especially if the cost of those decisions were to be “hard to calculate.” The court also gave a hat tip to national sovereignty by noting that “the relevant factor for adherence to the principles of democracy is whether the Bundestag remains the place in which autonomous decisions on revenue and expenditures are made.”
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Photo: The Bundesverfassungsgericht — the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany