|(Update) German top court to consult EU court on ECB bond-buying
Germany's highest court set a date Friday for its definitive ruling on the eurozone's crisis tools and said it will send key objections to the European Central Bank's contested bond-buying program to the European Court of Justice.
The German Constitutional Court said it will issue its final ruling on the European Stability Mechanism on March 18, AFP reports.
In a preliminary ruling in September 2012, the court had rejected legal challenges to the ESM and the European fiscal pact by a group of eurosceptics, allowing German President Joachim Gauck to sign the crisis tools into law.
But at the time, the eurosceptics also filed a last-minute challenge to the ECB's OMT bond purchase program, arguing that it amounted to monetarization of sovereign debt and oversteps the central bank's mandate.
The constitutional court said it would consult the European court in advance on some of the key questions of the issue because the ECB as a European body came under the jurisdiction of the Luxembourg-based court.
"In the opinion of the senate, there are important reasons to suggest that it goes beyond the mandate of the European Central Bank's monetary policy and encroaches on the responsibility of the member states and contravenes the ban on monetary deficit financing,'' the court argued.
Nevertheless, "the senate believes it is possible'' that limitations could be imposed on the OMT program in such a way as to make it compatible with EU law, the court added.
The ECB responded, saying that it "takes note of the announcement made today by the German constitutional court. The ECB reiterates that the OMT program falls within its mandate.''