BERLIN – Usually, people or institutions are taken to court when things go wrong and a fight ensues about who is liable for the damage. So the German Constitutional Court’s hearing on June 11-12 to consider the legality of the European Central Bank’s so-called outright monetary transactions (OMT) program was peculiar. Here is a fight over the single most successful monetary-policy measure of recent decades – not just in Europe, but anywhere.
The announcement of the OMT scheme in July 2012 reduced interest rates for companies and governments alike and returned much-needed private capital to crisis-hit countries, thereby helping to soften the blow of the deep recession on Europe’s periphery. It also brought back that scarcest of assets: confidence in the viability of the eurozone economy and its currency, the euro.