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'Final nail in coffin' ECB powergrab could spell END of Germany as we know it – dire alert

How the European Court of Justice works

German MEP Gunnar Beck said the European Commission’s challenge of the authority of his country’s top constitutional court sets a dangerous precedent. He insisted attempting to cement the primacy of EU law is just another example of the bloc’s creep towards a super state. Mr Beck, an AfD MEP and lawyer, also hit back at the European Central Bank’s boss Christine Lagarde after she questioned the power of domestic law against the European Court of Justice.

She told Politico: “It’s one of the other things that I had to deal with in my first year as ECB President.

“Obviously, the European Union has to pay attention not just to the German Constitutional Court, but to all the supreme court equivalents or highest court in the countries. But as far as we are concerned, we are governed by European law and we fall under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.”

The EU triggered the unprecedented infringement proceedings after the Karlsruhe-based court challenged the supremacy of EU law.

It ruled that the European Central Bank bond-buying programme had overstepped its mandate, even though the European Court of Justice had approved the scheme.

EU news Gunnar Beck and Christine Lagarde

German MEP Gunnar Beck warns against latest EU sovereignty grab (Image: GETTY•EP)

The issue was eventually resolved without disrupting the ECB’s efforts to stimulate the pandemic-stricken Eurozone economy.

“If the ECJ had sole authority to determine the limit of the EU’s powers, it could and will redefine and extend those powers.

“This would make the EU a sovereign entity, which according to the treaties it is not.”

Gunnar Beck

Gunnar Beck is an MEP and lawyer (Image: EP)

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Beck described the ECJ’s challenge of the German constitutional court as an “unprecedented danger” to the sovereignty of the bloc’s member states.

He added: “Effectively that’s been happening all along, but in legal terms it would be the final nail in the coffin for member states’ national sovereignty.”

Mr Beck believes Brussels is hoping to intimidate smaller member states, such as Poland, Hungary and Denmark, by deliberately challenging a German ability to review the implementation of EU law.

“If the German court surrenders, which it may well do, I think that it is hoped the others will be intimidated,” he said.

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Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde is the ECB's president (Image: GETTY)

The MEP described Ms Legarde as “taking advantage” of the current momentum to propel the EU towards another integrationist step.

The European Commission said it was taking action as the German court had set a “serious precedent” that could undermine the EU and pave the way for other states to challenge the ECJ’s powers.

Eurocrats sent a formal notice to Germany for “violation of fundamental principles of EU law”.

Berlin has two months to respond, and could be dragged in front of EU judges in Luxembourg if its response is unsatisfactory.

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EU 'message' to Germany over legal action outlined by expert

Brussels is also battling with Poland over alleged breaches of the rule of law and launched separate legal action against the Hungarian government after it pulled an independent radio off-air in February.

But the action against Germany is the latest in a high-profile string of battles between the EU and Karlsruhe court over the supremacy of EU law.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said: “We will take a very close look at the commission’s objections.”

Asked whether Germany had set a poor example, Steffen Seibert added: “I certainly wouldn’t want to play it down in any way but we’re not the only ones.”

The row emerged after last May German judges ruled that the ECJ had breached its mandate with an “incomprehensible” ruling justifying ECB bond purchases.

In response, the Commission said Germany’s decision to say the ECJ had gone beyond its powers had “deprived a judgement of the European Court of Justice of its legal effect in Germany, breaching the principle of the primacy of EU law”.

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