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[Vu de Bruxelles] The judge, The Mayor and the humor of Schäuble – Debates


A few years ago, I had talks with one of those German academics, fierce opponents of the euro, who regularly challenge decisions of the European Union before their country’s constitutional court. At the time, their target was Mario Draghi, then president of the European Central Bank. The Italian had embarked on the path of “whatever the cost”.

This policy of massive repurchases of Greek, Italian, Spanish and other sovereign bonds had sheltered the euro from speculation. But my interlocutor considered that it violated at the same time the European treaty, which prohibits the monetization of the debts, and the Constitution of Germany, which reserves to its deputies the competence to incur budgetary expenses. Very upset, he concludes the conversation with a: “Draghi, that rat”, while pivoting the heel of his impeccable shoe on the floor of the brewery where we were. It was enough to understand that this affair carried more affect than its academic arguments… and to put an end to our talks. This legal guerrilla warfare continues.

No one knows how long this constitutional review will take. A few weeks or a few months. Nor what will come of it.

On March 26, the Karlsruhe judges, seized in summary proceedings, suspended the ratification of a decision on the collection of European taxes that the Bundestag had just adopted. However, for the Brussels Commission to start raising the hundreds of billions of euros of the European recovery plan on the market, this decision must have been ratified by each of the countries of the Union. We are still far from the mark. The situation “worries” the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, who has promised to start releasing funds in early July. A little less than 40 billion in three years, in the case of France. “There are even states, like Germany, which put additional delays since the German Constitutional Court was seized to know whether, yes or not, we could disburse the money”, he lamented on CNews , April 2nd.

No one knows how long this constitutional review will take. A few weeks or a few months. Nor what will come of it. In the meantime, we can profitably reread this anecdote reported in Le Figaro of the same April 2 and taken from the latest book by the President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, himself a lawyer. “A few years ago, at a constitutional law congress in Karlsruhe, I started the discussion between a British Liberal Democrat MP, who is a renowned jurist, and a judge of the Federal Constitutional Court”, says the former finance minister. “As a joke, I asked the German judge if the British majority vote was admissible in the Federal Constitutional Court. His response: “Under no circumstances! “. Then I slipped to my British counterpart: ‘You see, you British people have yet to teach you what parliamentary democracy is. “The only one who didn’t understand the joke was the judge.” By the way ! This year, Europe’s oldest democracy is celebrating the 300th anniversary of “10 Downing Street”, the residence and office of the British Prime Minister.

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