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German Court backs the ESM

  The German constitutional court has ruled that the country can ratify the European Stability Mechanism, rejecting complaints made against it by opponents.

Critics of the scheme had petitioned to the Constitutional Court arguing that the ESM would commit Germany to paying potentially unlimited funding for debt ridden Eurozone nations such as Spain, Italy and Greece. An idea that is extremely unpopular with the German people.

The Judges ruled that the injunction against the ESM and the fiscal compact was mostly unfounded but they did impose some conditions on the measures. The court said that one of those conditions for allowing ratification was that any increase in Germany’s liability to pay more than 190 billion Euros must be first approved by the Bundestag lower house of parliament and any ESM decisions must be submitted to both parliamentary houses for approval.

German Constitutional expert Matthias Kumm from Berlin said; “At least the basic tenor is somewhat in line with what many have expected. So it means that Germany will now be able to move forward and ratify the ESM, providing an additional clarifying interpretation of the conditions under which Germany can assume responsibility. So in effect this means that the ESM can enter into force.”

The markets also appear to be happy with the outcome. Henk Potts a marketing strategist at Barclays bank said: “I think it should be seen as a positive step in the long road to solving the Eurozone debt crisis. I think markets will be relatively pleased with the announcement, and the conditions put in place, but all in all no real surprise.”

“The idea that we were going to get a big boost on the back of a positive response was a little bit optimistic. The best that we could have hoped for is exactly what we’ve seen, that we’ve held on to the recent gains.”

David Thebault from Global Equities in Paris said; “It’s a positive outcome, with acceptable conditions, and the market should react positively to it. The Euro zone has got over another hurdle, and slowly but surely, the region is getting more stable, less risky.The only big issue left now is Spain, but the mechanisms to deal with the country’s problems are taking shape.”

So far it has been a good week for the Euro with the currency continuing to make gains against most of its peers. A negative outcome from today could have seen the single currency take a nose dive in the markets and the fragile sense of optimism that has slowly built up would have been shattered.

When the ESM comes into force it will provide a €700 billion Euro firewall against the further spread of the Euro crisis. A wall that is needed as the crisis begins to slither into the core of the region. Only German ratification remains to be made for the Mechanism to come into effect. Sceptical economists have scoffed at the amount of cash the ESM can provided stating that the sum is nowhere near enough to bailout Spain and Italy if the worst should happen.

The next hurdle is whether German Chancellor Angela Merkel can pass the ESM through parliament. There is a lot of opposition to the scheme and she will face a tough battle to get it ratified.

The Pound to Euro exchange rate is currently trading at 1.250

The Pound to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.610

The Pound to Australian Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.535

The Euro to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.288

The Euro to Pound exchange rate is currently trading at 0.799

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