CJEU Case C-493/17 | Heinrich Weiss and Others

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Publication Date 2017-2018
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Information Guide on Case C-493/17 from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), concerning the validity of the European Central Bank's programme for the purchase of government bonds on secondary markets (PSPP programme) in light of EU law.

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In view of a number of factors that increased the risk of a medium-term decline in prices in the context of an economic crisis entailing a risk of deflation, the European Central Bank (ECB) adopted in March 2015 a programme for the purchase of government bonds on secondary markets - the PSPP programme.

A number of individuals brought actions before the German Federal Constitutional Court, following an understanding that such ECB programme and subsequent extensions go beyond the powers of the institution by violating a ban on it funding governments. The German court requested a preliminary ruling from the CJEU, which received questions in August 2017 concerning the validity of the PSPP programme in light of EU law.

On 11 December 2018, the CJEU argued that the consideration of the referred questions did not include any factor that would be able to affect the validity of the PSPP programme. The Court found that the Quantative Easing (QE) programme does not exceed the ECB's mandate as it falls within the area of monetary policy. It also concludes that the PSPP programme does not infringe the prohibition of monetary financing.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
EU Law Analysis, 28/01/2019: The European Central Bank – judicial review of monetary policy and banking supervision http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-european-central-bank-judicial.html

Handelsblatt, 10/07/2018: ECB asset purchase program goes on trial in European court https://www.handelsblatt.com/today/finance/german-angst-ecb-asset-purchase-program-goes-on-trial-in-european-court/23582678.html
Bloomberg, 10/07/2018: ECB Under Fire as Critics of Bond-Buying Plan Reach EU Court https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-10/ecb-under-fire-as-critics-of-bond-buying-program-reach-eu-court
EUObserver, 11/07/2018: EU judges examine ECB bond-buying scheme https://euobserver.com/economic/142345
EurActiv, 11/12/18: EU top court rules in favor of Draghi’s bond-buying programme https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/eu-top-court-rules-in-favor-of-draghis-bond-buying-programme/
Reuters, 11/12/2018: ECB wins court's backing for bond-purchase programme https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN1OA0PS
France24, 11/12/2018: Top EU court gives all-clear for ECB bond-buying https://www.france24.com/en/20181211-top-eu-court-gives-all-clear-ecb-bond-buying
Deutsche Welle, 11/12/2018: EU's top court rules European Central Bank bond buying legal https://p.dw.com/p/39q80
Bloomberg, 11/12/2018: ECB Wins EU Top Court Fight Over Legality of QE Program https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-11/ecb-wins-eu-top-court-fight-over-legality-of-qe-program
The Irish Times, 11/12/2018: ECB wins court fight over legality of quantitative easing programme https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/ecb-wins-court-fight-over-legality-of-quantitative-easing-programme-1.3727323

CJEU CURIA: Case-Law: Case C-493/17 Heinrich Weiss and Others http://curia.europa.eu/juris/documents.jsf?num=C-493/17
CJEU: Press Release, 04/10/2018: Advocate General’s Opinion in Case C-493/17 Weiss and Others https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2018-10/cp180145en.pdf
CJEU: Press Release, 11/12/18: Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-493/17 Weiss and Others https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_1516661/en/

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