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German citizens demand referendum on ESM and fiscal treaty

German citizens demand referendum on ESM and fiscal treaty


On Friday 29 June 2012, the German citizens’ alliance “Europa braucht mehr Demokratie” (Europe needs more democracy) and more than 12,000 citizens have lodged a complaint with Germany’s top Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe to hold a referendum on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the fiscal compact, which were ratified by both houses of the German Parliament on the same day. The German constitutional complaint (Verfassungsbeschwerde) is a remedy found in Germany’s basic law (Grundgesetz) giving citizens the means to allege that their constitutional rights have been violated.

According to the alliance, the ESM and the fiscal compact infringe the democratic principles of Germany’s constitution that stipulates to hold a referendum when essential competences concerning the budget are transferred to the EU. Once entered into force, the German Parliament – the representative body of the people – did not have the power anymore to decide on German taxpayers’ expenditure in relation of payments to the EU. In view of this loss of sovereignty, “Europa braucht mehr Demokratie” demands urgent action from Germany’s constitutional court and to stop the ratification procedure. Instead, citizens are to decide by referendum if they agree on the transfer of budgetary powers to the EU.

Since Friday’s submission of the constitutional complaint in Karlsruhe more than hundreds of signatures reach the alliance’s office in Berlin each day. “Europa braucht mehr Demokratie” therefore plans to lodge a second round of complaints. The form can be downloaded from the citizens’ alliance’s website at

Background information:
The representatives of Mehr Demokraties’s constitutional complaint, professor of law Christoph Degenhart and former German minister of justice, Herta Däubler-Gmelin have written a memorandum on Germany’s legal situation and the constitutional complaint. The paper in German is available here.
Text by Cora Pfafferott

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