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Judges at Germany's Constitutional Court say the parliament must be given a greater role in shaping German participation in European treaties. Winfried Rothermel/AP

German court says MPs need greater role in EU treaty talks

The ruling from the Constitutional Court means opposition parties will have a greater say in EU treaties in future.

GERMANY’S TOP COURT has ruled that the country’s parliament must be informed sooner and given more involvement in future talks over European Union treaties.

In a landmark ruling, the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe said MPs must be given an early and effective influence on Berlin’s negotiating position rather than merely being asked to rubber-stamp a done deal.

The court was ruling on a complaint brought by the opposition Green party, which felt it did not have enough say in negotiations on the European Stability Mechanism, the EU’s permanent bailout fund, which is due to come into force next month.

Germany will pay €21.7 billion in cash into the fund, designed to finance future potential bailouts of debt-wracked states, and will offer guarantees of another €168.3 billion. Ireland will pay €1.27 billion and almost €10 billion more in guarantees.

Both houses of the German parliament are due to vote on the ESM on June 29, the same day as chancellor Angela Merkel attends a summit of EU leaders in Brussels aimed at agreeing new growth measures for the European Union and the eurozone.

The ruling was not expected to influence this vote, which Merkel’s Christian Democrats are set to win, thanks to the support of opposition parties for setting up the new ESM fund.

Merkel has been pushing for more integration in Europe, saying the continent needs a “political union” as a response to the euro crisis.

The court has a history of strengthening the role of the German parliament in European issues: in February, it struck down a proposal to create a small “crisis cell” of deputies that could take quick and secret decisions on approving emergency aid, saying the whole parliament had to be involved.

And in a closely watched ruling in September, it judged that parliament must have a greater say in future bailouts.

- © AFP, 2012

Previously: Germany’s Constitutional court upholds participation in EU bailouts

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