World Economy

ECB Faces Three Hefty Suits

ECB Faces Three Hefty SuitsECB Faces Three Hefty Suits

German politicians who failed in previous attempts to have courts derail European Union monetary policy, filed lawsuits at the country’s top court challenging the European Central Bank’s €1.1 trillion ($1.2 trillion) asset-purchase program.

Three suits were filed over the last six months, according to Michael Allmendinger, a spokesman for the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, Bloomberg reported.

One case, in September, was brought by Bernd Lucke, the head of political party ALFA. Ex-lawmaker Peter Gauweiler said in an emailed statement that he also filed a complaint last month.

“With its euphemistic Quantitative Easing policy, the ECB is seeking to inflame inflation by printing huge amounts of money,” said Gauweiler, who was behind a case that resulted in a ruling from the EU’s top court earlier this year. “This program is economic policy and first and foremost serves private banks from which the ECB purchases problematic loans. It is turning itself into the bad bank of Europe.”

Nine months into the bond-buying program, the main goal of spurring inflation toward the ECB’s goal of close to but below 2% remains elusive with price increases still largely absent from the 19-nation eurozone. With the economy at risk of cooling amid weaker growth in China and a slowdown in global trade, ECB President Mario Draghi has held out the prospect of more stimulus next month, when new consumer-price and growth forecasts will be published.

German Finance Ministry spokeswoman Maike Kreutzberg said she can’t immediately comment on the lawsuits. The ECB’s press office declined to comment.

The cases are separate from a complaint attacking the ECB’s 2012 Outright Monetary Transactions program. That action was dealt a setback when the EU’s highest tribunal in June largely approved the OMT.