German Left Party tries to stop fiscal pact ratification

BERLIN Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:02pm EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's small Left Party said it would lodge a complaint with the constitutional court in an attempt to prevent ratification of the European Union's fiscal pact, which the Berlin government has championed, and the ESM permanent bailout scheme.

Wolfgang Neskovic, a member of parliament for the far-left party, told Reuters that the fiscal pact infringed German parliamentary budget sovereignty so his party would submit a request to the court to prevent it being signed by President Joachim Gauck.

"German policy cannot be determined elsewhere," he said.

Berlin has been the biggest contributor to euro zone bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, arousing hostility among German voters, and the centre-right government campaigned for the pact imposing stricter budget rules on EU governments.

In January, 25 of the 27 EU member states signed the pact, which limits annual structural deficits to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and imposes quasi-automatic sanctions on countries that breach it.

The German parliament is due to vote on June 29 on approving both the pact and the ESM (European Stability Mechanism), in time for the new bailout fund to come into force on July 1. Chancellor Angela Merkel has made the fiscal pact a condition of Germany accepting the ESM.

Earlier this week, the Constitutional Court said the government did not adequately consult parliament on setting up the ESM, though the ruling was not expected to delay its ratification by Germany.

A ruling by the court last year gave a bigger say to German lawmakers in the ESM's forerunner, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). This obliged the government to seek the approval of the Bundestag's budget committee before agreeing to German participation in euro zone bailouts.

(Reporting by Thomas Seythal; Writing by Sarah Marsh; editing by David Stamp)

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