Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law

Miscellaneous

The First Ever Ultra Vires Judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court: PSPP

Will the Barking Dog Bite More Than Once?

Keywords judicial dialogue, ultra vires, PSPP, German Federal Constitutional Court, infringement procedure
Authors Robert Böttner
Author's information

Robert Böttner
Robert Böttner: assistant professor of law, University of Erfurt.
  • Abstract

      In May 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) delivered its judgment in the PSPP case. At first it seemed that it would be a remake of the Gauweiler/OMT case between the German Court and the CJEU. Shockingly, however, the German FCC decided that not only had the ECB acted ultra vires by failing to duly justify its PSPP decision, but it also found the CJEU to have delivered an incomprehensible and objectively arbitrary judgment by which the German Court was not bound. This case note not only traces the history of the PSPP proceedings, but it also tries to review the heavy criticism that the FCC’s verdict has garnered. In the context of European integration and due to the German FCC’s authority among supreme courts in Europe, it is a dangerous precedent, that the European Commission tries to curb through infringement proceedings. One can only hope that it will be settled for good and shall remain an unfortunate but singular incident.

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