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Ian Campbell

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European Central Bank: 'Whatever it Takes' Challenge

If you participate in the financial markets, or simply have an interest in following the machinations of the world economy, I suggest that you must read an article published today titled Legal challenge to ECB could have serious consequences. The article reports on a German Constitutional Court hearing scheduled to take place tomorrow and Wednesday related to what is referred to as a 'major legal challenge' to the European Central Bank's (ECB) introduction in September 2012 of the ECB's 'outright monetary transactions policy' (OMT) - colloquially referred to as by Mario Draghi's 'whatever it takes' bond-buying programme.

In summary, the article reports what I find to be some astonishing and worrisome statements, including:

  • a statement by Joerg Asmussen, a German economist and executive member of the ECB that "when we announced the (OMT) programme, the eurozone was nearing uncontrolled decomposition"; and,
  • a second statement made by Mr. Asmussen that "Serious business and banks began to prepare for" such uncontrolled decomposition prior to the OMT announcement;

The article suggests that an unfavourable Court ruling could force the ECB to 'pull the plug on OMT', instantly reigniting the eurozone crisis.

The article also reports that Udo di Faio, the Constitutional Court's 'euro expert' prior to this year, has gone so far as to warn that Germany's membership in the European Monetary Union is at stake. That said, Judge Faio also is reported as saying that an "integration-friendly court would push the EMU 'exit buttion'".

While the Court ruling apparently is not expected for some weeks, it is clearly something to watch for.

Reference: Legal challenge to ECB could have serious consequences, from The Telegraph, Denise Roland, June 10, 2013 - reading time 3 minutes.


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