The European Commission is considering possible infringement proceedings against Germany after a ruling from the country’s Constitutional Court challenged the authority of the EU’s top court, Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday.
“We are now analysing the ruling of the German Constitutional Court in detail. And we will look into possible next steps, which may include the option of infringement proceedings,” Commission President von der Leyen, a former German minister, said in a statement.
On Tuesday, a ruling from Germany’s Constitutional Court challenged the authority of the Court of Justice of the EU, whose upper court is informally known as the European Court of Justice (ECJ), and the EU in general.
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The German court ruled that the European Central Bank’s 2015 policy — approved by the Luxembourg court in 2018 — to buy bonds as part of its quantitative easing stimulus package “was obviously not covered” by the ECB’s mandate.
Von der Leyen said that “the Union’s monetary policy is a matter of exclusive competence; that EU law has primacy over national law and that rulings of the European Court of Justice are binding on all national courts.”
“The final word on EU law is always spoken in Luxembourg. Nowhere else,” she added.
Commission Vice President Věra Jourová also said Sunday in an interview published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that Brussels is deciding on “possible steps” it can take to respond to the German ruling.
She added that “our lawyers are also looking at it very closely at the moment before we decide on possible steps to take. But it should be clear to everyone: there is the primacy of EU law legally in our union. Judgements of the ECJ are binding on all national courts.”
Jourová also criticized Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s emergency measures to counter the coronavirus crisis, saying the leader is readying himself for “unlimited power.” In March, Hungary’s parliament voted to allow Orbán to rule by decree indefinitely.
Responding to Jourová’s comments on Hungary, government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs said they were “unbecoming of a commissioner,” and said she should settle any complaint via infringement proceedings.
This article has been updated with a statement from Ursula von der Leyen.