June 15, 2020 / 2:11 AM / 23 days ago

Parliament experts see Bundesbank taking lead in ECB legal fight: newspaper

FILE PHOTO: The European Central Bank (ECB) logo is pictured before a news conference on the outcome of the meeting of the Governing Council in Frankfurt, Germany, January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

BERLIN (Reuters) - German parliament’s official researchers have concluded in a legal opinion that the Bundesbank must be responsible for examining whether the bond buying programme of the European Central Bank (ECB) is proportionate, a newspaper reported on Monday.

The German Constitutional Court last month gave the ECB three months to explain the proportionality of its bond purchases or risk losing Germany’s Bundesbank, one of 19 national central banks that are members of the ECB, as a participant in the programme.

It also called on the German parliament and government to challenge the ECB on the matter.

“The Bundesbank must be primarily responsible for this review,” the experts in the Bundestag’s research services said in the assessment, excerpts of which were published by the Augsburger Allgemeine daily.

The Bundesbank would have to withdraw from the bond purchase programme if it were found to be disproportionate, it added.

The Bundestag’s research services offer non-partisan specialist analyses and expert views on questions raised by lawmakers. Their view is not binding but carries weight in Berlin.

The Constitutional Court ruling poses a conundrum for Berlin, which is bound to respect the Karlsruhe court but does not want to erode the independence of the ECB, whose unprecedented economic stimulus programme has kept the euro zone intact.

Politicians and bankers are trying to find a way through the legal complexities the ruling has thrown up regarding the relationship between European and German laws and institutions and to work out which institution should make the assessment.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Edmund Blair

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