Pringle cites German court finding


Independent TD Thomas Pringle today urged the High Court to note a German court's finding last week that the German government breached legal obligations to properly inform the German parliament about the European Stability Mechanism Treaty providing for a conditional permanent bailout fund for the 17 states in the euro zone.

Following its ruling of June 19th, the German Federal Constitutional Court has secured agreement from parliament there that the ESM and Fiscal Stability Treaties will not be signed into law in Germany for the time being so as to allow the German courts time to consider existing or announced legal challenges there.

Mr Pringle, who contends the ESM Treaty breaches EU law, the EU treaties and the Irish Constitution, is to proceed with his application for an injunction restraining the Government completing ratification here early next month of the ESM Treaty, his counsel John Rogers SC said.

The notice of motion for that injunction was handed into Ms Justice Mary Laffoy today in the continuing hearing of the Donegal South West TD's action in which he contends, among several arguments, the ESM Treaty is inextricably interwined with the Fiscal Treaty approved by the people by referendum last month and should also therefore have been put to the people.

He claims the ESM Treaty is unconstitutional on grounds including it breaches the EU Treaties as approved by the people and dilutes the fiscal sovereignty of this State.

Mr Pringle will apply for the injunction restraining ratification here once the relevant legislation is passed, as expected, by the Dáil and Seanad shortly but before it goes to the President. After the Oireachtas approves the legislation, a five day period must elapse before the President may sign it into law.

Mr Pringle has also asked that the High Court refer issues in the case to the European Court of Justice for determination, including whether the ESM Treaty breaches no bailout" provisions of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) agreed under various EU Treaties.

The ESM Treaty provides for creation of a new ESM financial institution, akin to a bank, to provide bailout funding on strict conditions to distressed states in the Eurozone. The 17 Eurozone states are required to make a capital contribution to the new institution with Ireland's contribition set at €11.14bn.

Today, Mr Rogers handed into the judge a translated copy of the June 19th judgment of the German Constitutional Court which found the German federal government infringed the information rights of the German parliament in failing to properly inform it in a timely manner related to the ESM Treaty.

The German court found, among several findings, the German government failed to provide key documents to the parliament in a timely manner and failed to inform it in advance of the conclusion of a pact for competitiveness - the Euro-Plus Pact.

In further submissions, Mr Rogers argued ratification of the ESM Treaty is not, as the government contends, "necessitated" by virtue of Ireland's membership of the EU within the meaning of Article 29.4 of the Constitution.

The purpose of the ESM Treaty is to bind the 17 Eurozone states on financial policy and to bind Ireland to decisions not agreed by all 27 member states, he said.  If the ESM Treaty was an obligation under EU law, all 27 member states would have to participate.

The ESM Treaty was not a measure to deal with a crisis here and now but was "a forever agreement" unlimited in terms of its future with no end date and no exit mechanism, he said.  What was happening here was the transformation of a "no bail out" Economic and Monetary Union to a bailout "or, worse still, a subterfuge by some member states to do something contrary to EMU", counsel said.

The case continues.