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Court rejects bid for preliminary injunction against EU Covid fund

Injunction would have prevented EU law entering into force, potentially for a “considerable time”

Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court has rejected an application for a preliminary injunction against the law underpinning the launch of the EU’s €750 billion Covid-19 recovery fund, which is intended to support activities including R&D.

The application prevented Germany from ratifying the law, which must be approved by every member state before the funding can start to flow. Germany can now ratify the law, even though principal proceedings against it brought by the same applicants remain to be heard.

The court said on 21 April that the consequences of issuing the injunction would have been too severe to be justified, including because “it is expected that the principal proceedings will take considerable time to conclude”.

It also said the applicants “have demonstrated that it is at least possible” that German ratification of the EU law “could encroach upon” the German constitution and parliament, the Bundestag, by making Germany liable for the joint debt intended to fuel the fund.

The court said it will review whether the EU law “could lead to the creation of permanent instruments that amount to an assumption of liability for decisions by other member states, whether the potential liabilities could structurally affect the Bundestag’s budgetary powers, and whether it is ensured the Bundestag retains sufficient parliamentary influence on decisions as to how the funds provided will be used”.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, welcomed the court’s decision, saying the EU “stays on track with its economic recovery”.

Update 29/4 – This article was updated to clarify that Germany was able to ratify the EU law.

A version of this article also appeared in Research Europe