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Germany hears legal challenges to EU bailouts

Opponents claim that bailout funds for Greece, Ireland and Portugal violated German and EU law.
Jul 5th 2011, 2:07 PM 282 6

A GERMAN high court has begun hearing legal challenges to the state’s participation in the EU-backed bailout funds for Ireland, Greece and Portugal.

Germany is the largest single contributor to the EU’s emergency assistance fund.

The judge presiding over the hearing said today that the court’s role was not to review the economic aspect of the bailouts, Bloomberg reports. That was the job of politicians, but the court must consider the constitution’s limits on politicians, Judge Andreas Vosskuhle said.

The court is hearing arguments in three cases challenging Germany’s involvement in Greece’s €110 billion rescue package as well as the wider EU assistance fund. Opponents to the state’s participation claim that the bailouts breached both German and EU law.

Reuters reports that while the court, which is the highest constitutional court in Germany, is unlikely to fully block the country’s participation in the bailout funds, it could set conditions for providing further aid within the eurozone.

Defending the government, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that Germany took part in the Greek bailout last year because action was needed to avert the risk to financial stability across Europe.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read more: ‘Difficult’ Budget may include €4bn in cuts, warns Noonan >

Read more: Greece’s second bailout is delayed – but payments will continue >

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