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the global coalition for democracy

Call for EU convention ahead of German ESM ruling

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Cora Pfafferott

Cora Pfafferott

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Call for EU convention ahead of German ESM ruling

16-03-2014

On Tuesday, 18 March 2014, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court is due to pronounce its final judgment on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the fiscal pact. The expected ruling follows a constitutional complaint by Democracy International’s German partner organization Mehr Demokratie, which had argued that the Euro rescue treaties infringe German parliamentary budget sovereignty and therefore German citizens’ democratic sovereignty. 37.000 German citizens had joined the complaint by Mehr Demokratie, the biggest constitutional appeal ever in Germany’s history. 

In February 2014 the German court then decided to refer the part that concerns the ECB (OMT-programme) to the European Court of Justice. In a preliminary decision in September 2012, Germany’s top constitutional court had ruled that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the fiscal compact could only be ratified with the condition that the German Parliament keeps the control and Germany’s ESM contribution was not allowed to exceed the amount of 190 billion Euro. 

Gerald Häfner, President of Democracy International: "The complaint and the rulings of the German Constitutional Court point out an unsolved problem of European democracy. The right to decide about the budget is the core competence of every national Parliament. It cannot be delegated to non-elected bodies. It can only be - partly - transferred, if the highest level of democratic control and scrutiny is guaranteed.“

In case of any further steps of European integration towards a deeper European fiscal and monetary union, Democracy International and its German council member Mehr Demokratie demand that democratic control must remain with the citizens through Parliaments  or direct decisions when powers are deferred to the European Union level. „We therefore call upon the political leaders of the EU to convene a new, democratic and transparent EU Convention“, so Gerald Häfner on behalf of Democracy International, which unites democracy activists from all around the world.  

Article 48 of the EU Treaty provides to arrange an EU convention before amendments are made to the treaties of the EU. Democracy International demands that the new, democratic EU Convention has the greatest possible democratic legitimacy and that adequate time must be given for serious and thorough deliberation. Also, the Convention must operate with full transparency, have all its meetings open to the public, and include in its deliberations proposals from civil society. EU citizens are to approve the proposals that the Convention will elaborate by direct vote.

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