Infringement procedure by the European Commission against Germany over breach of fundamental principles of EU law

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Publication Date 2021
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Information Guide concerning the infringement procedure launched by the European Commission against Germany on 9 June 2021 following the judgment published by the country's Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) concerning the Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP) of the European Central Bank (ECB).

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In May 2020, the German court handed down its judgment on the ECB's PSPP declaring it to ultra vires. It also declared a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to be ultra vires, without referring the matter back to the CJEU.

The European Commission argues that Germany violated fundamental principles of EU Law, in particular the principles of autonomy, primacy, effectiveness and uniform application, as well as the respect of the jurisdiction of the CJEU under Article 267 TFEU. The Commission further argues that the German Federal Constitutional Court went beyond its competence and deprived a CJEU judgment of its legal effect in Germany, breaching the principle of the primacy of EU law.

The Commission noted that the German court in April 2021 rejected two requests seeking an order of execution for its judgment from 2020. However, this did not reverse the breaches concerning the principle of primacy of EU law. The European Commission thus decided to send to Germany authorities a Letter of Formal Notice on 9 June 2021, therefore starting an infringement procedure against the EU Member State. The country was given two months to reply to this letter.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Sven Giegold (G/EFA Group): Blog, 08/06/2021: EU infringement proceedings/ECB ruling: Appropriate way to resolve the legal conflict
Bridge Network: Blog, 10/06/2021: Saving the BVerfG from itself: the Commission infringement proceedings against Germany and its significance
Yale University: MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies: News, 10/06/2021: EU starts infringement procedure against Germany over 2020 Court decision
Hertie School: Jacques Delors Centre: Policy Position, 16/06/2021: A matter of principle: An infringement procedure against Germany
EUObserver: Opinion, 21/06/2021: The European Court of Justice vs German Constitutional Court
EUBlog: Blog, 23/06/2021: The Infringement Procedure over Weiss: a Sceptical Appraisal

Reuters, 08/06/2021: EU to launch legal proceeding against Germany in ECB ruling - source
Politico, 08/06/2021: EU prepares legal action against Germany over ECB court ruling
Euronews, 09/06/2021: Brussels begins legal action against Germany over controversial ECB ruling
EurActiv, 09/06/2021: Brussels opens case against Germany over primacy of EU law
Politico, 09/06/2021: Commission threatens to sue Germany over EU law supremacy dispute
The Guardian, 09/06/2021: EU takes legal action against Germany after tussle between courts
Deutsche Welle, 09/06/2021: EU launches infringement proceedings against Germany for bond-buying challenge
EUObserver, 10/06/2021: EU takes legal action against Germany on bonds ruling

European Commission: June infringements package: key decisions (9 June 2021)

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