The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, defended this Saturday the primacy of the European courts over national courts in matters of community law and threatened to sanction Germany for the ruling of its Constitutional Court on the bond purchase program of the ECB.
“I take this matter very seriously. The Commission is now in the process of detailed analysis of the more than 100 pages of the German Constitutional Court ruling. Based on those findings, we will consider the following steps, including infringement procedures” Von der Leyen declared.
It is the response of the President of the Community Executive to the written question of a German MEP from the Green Group, Sven Giegold, who on the symbolic date on which Europe Day is celebrated obtained a reply from the President in record time two hours, when they usually take months.
The German Constitutional Court issued a ruling last Tuesday that questions the European Central Bank’s (ECB) sovereign bond purchase program in secondary markets by exceeding its powers with the billionaire debt purchase program launched in 2015.
The ruling does not consider the program illegal, but asks the ECB to clarify the proportionality of its monetary policy measures and orders the German Bundesbank to stop buying debt in three months if the European Central Bank does not justify that the purchases are proportionate.
The ruling of the high court of the first economic power of the European Union (EU) has fallen like a legal bomb in Brussels, now focused on preparing with the Member States for the health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.
In addition to referring to an act of a Community institution, it contradicts the ruling issued by the EU Court of Justice itself in 2018, which considered that the ECB acted within its mandate.
Hence, the CJEU itself published a statement this Friday recalling that it is the only court that can determine that an act of another European institution, such as the European Central Bank (ECB), is contrary to Community regulations, a competence that escapes the national courts.
In his “express” response to the ecologist MEP, Von der Leyen added the sentence “raises questions that touch the core of European sovereignty”.
“Issues that are important for the monetary policy of the Union, but also for the rule of law in the EU. I can assure you: the monetary policy of the Union is a matter of exclusive competence”, added the President of the European Commission .
Von der Leyen goes on to point out that European law prevails over national law and stresses that “of course” the judgments of the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg “always have the last word in European law”.
“The European Union is a community of values and laws, which we will defend at all times and in all directions. That is what holds us together” ends the reply by Von der Leyen, who had started on Saturday by commemorating in a video broadcast on social networks on Europe Day.
“We celebrate 70 years of European solidarity that offered a helping hand to rebuild and reunite a continent on the ashes of World War II and build prosperity. The same solidarity is needed to save lives, livelihoods and build a green and digital future Long live Europe, “says the president of the Community Executive in that recording.