Fabio De Masi and Yanis Varoufakis sue the ECB

The EU and ECB have great difficulty with transparency and explaining the justification for its actions.It is no wonder that its democratic credentials are in such shambles.

Fabio De Masi is a  member of  Germany’s national parliament,the Bundestag, for the The Left Party (Die Linken)

Yanis Varoufakis is co-founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement, DiEM25, an economist, and former Greek finance minister

German MP Fabio De Masi (DIE LINKE.) and former Greek Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis are sueing the European Central Bank to gain access to the legal opinion titled „Responses to questions concerning the interpretation of Article 14.4 of the Statue of the ESCB and of the ECB“. The lawsuit was submitted to the General Court of the EU by Professor Andreas Fischer-Lescano.

The lawsuit was preceded by a request for document access supported by more than 18.000 citizens from across Europe, members of national parliaments and of the European Parliament as well as prominent academics from the US and Europe. Prominent supporters came from various political backgrounds including Social Democrats and the Greens and hold divergent views on the future of the EU and the Eurozone. Supporters included among others Jean-Luc Mélenchon (MP, La France insoumise, candidate for the French Presidency 2017), Sahra Wagenknecht (MP, Chair of DIE LINKE parliamentary group in the German parliament), Stefano Fassina (MP,  Sinistra Italiana, former Vice Minister of Economy and Finances Italy), Zoe Konstantopoulou (former President of the Greek parliament, Plefsi Eleftherias). Katja Kipping (Chair DIE LINKE), Gesine Schwan (former SPD Presidential candidate and former president of the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder), Benoît Hamon, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Prof. James K Galbraith, (both US economists) and Prof. Gustav Horn (Institute for Macroeconomics IMK Düsseldorf).

In June 2015, the newly elected Greek government conducted difficult negotiations with its creditors (the’ Troika – ECB, EU Commission and IMF). It did what it was elected to do: renegotiate the country’s debts, its tax policy and reform agenda and save the population from the hardships of today’s rigorous austerity programme.

The troika knew that only a threatening step could force the Greek government to capitulate. It incorporated the ECB: to force Greek banks  to close down and the Greek government – against its democratically mandated mandate – was thus compelled to vote in favour of the third’ rescue package, including new austerity measures and restrictions on state independence.

However, the ECB feared the legal questionability of the measures taken to break the Greek government’s resistance. It commissioned a legal opinion to verify the legality of its decisions. The “Greek Files” at the ECB contain this legal report of the expert.

In July 2015, Fabio De Masi, a German MEP, asked Mario Draghi to publish the report. Draghi refused on the grounds of confidentiality between lawyer and client.

Fabio De Masi comments on the case:

“Blackmail is not the job of the ECB. By restricting liquidity to the Greek banking sector to force cuts in pensi ons, tax increases and fire-sale privatizations the ECB overstepped its mandate. In its multiple roles as creditor, referee and lender-of-last-resort the ECB is faced with unresolvable conflicts of interest, which also cast doubt on its independence. If the ECB felt that its actions were legal, it should disclose the legal opinion it obtained rather than hiding it from the public eye.”



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