Opinion: The German Constitutional Court has fallen into its own trap

Author: Amelie Champsaur, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton | Published: 15 May 2020

By  Amélie Champsaur, partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Paris

In its decision 2015/774 (the PSPP Decision), the ECB [European Central Bank] introduced the PSPP [Public Sector Purchase Programme], a quantitative easing programme which includes the purchase of sovereign bonds on the secondary markets subject to certain conditions, including volume limits, absence of risk-sharing between member states and periodic assessment. The PSPP was challenged by a group of German citizens before the GCC on the grounds that it exceeds the ECB’s scope of competence under the Treaty.

In its Weiss ruling of December 11 2018, the CJEU addressed the prejudicial questions raised by the GCC and concluded that (1) the PSPP did not violate the monetary financing prohibition set out in Article 123 of the Treaty (i.e. the prohibition for the ECB to directly finance member states); (2) the PSPP was within the power...