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THE GERMAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT AND THE EURO CRISIS

Cebu, Philippines, June 13, 2013 - As published in the column of Cebu Daily News , an informative lecture entitled as “The German Constitutional Court and the Euro Crisis” was organized by the University of Cebu, College of Law, in partnership with Konrad-AdenauerStiftung (KAS). Law students and professors, and some members of the Bench and Bar participated in the activity held in the Audio Visual Room 2 of the University of Cebu-Banilad Campus, Cebu City last June 11, 2013, 6pm. The honorable speaker, Judge Marc Alexander Spitzkatz, is the director of the Rule of Law Programme Asia, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung- a political foundation focusing on the promotion of democracy, rule of law and social market economy in different countries. He is the judge of the 35th Civil Chamber of the Regional Court in Berlin, Germany since 2010. In Judge Spitzkatz’s lecture, he conferred about the role of key institutions and state actors in upholding the Rule of Law during crisis situations specifically the financial crisis in the Eurozone. He gave an overview of the current crisis situation in Europe, how and when it started, and the measures undertaken to respond to it. He pointed out some court decisions particularly by the German Constitutional Courts, with regard to the questions on the constitutionality of international agreements and treaties entered into by the political leaders in Germany. One of which, is the question concerning the validity of the treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), an international organization established on September 27, 2012 as a permanent firewall for the Eurozone to safeguard and provide instant access to financial assistance programs for member states of the Eurozone in financial difficulty. Furthermore, he talked about how the courts have rendered judgments in favor of the constitutionality of the ESM. A panel of discussants imparted their insights right after Judge Spitzkatz’s lecture. It was composed of RTC Cebu City Branch Judge Meinrado Paredes, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City Chapter President Elaine Bathan, faculty member of the University of Cebu College of Law, Atty. Dante T. Ramos, University of San Carlos- School of Law and Governance Dean Joan S. Largo, and Ian Dominic Orino, UC-Law student. Judge Meinrado Paredes gave emphasis on the distinctions between the German Constitutional Court and the Philippine Supreme Court. He enumerated a few of which, namely, the nature of the court, the mode of appointment of judges, the role of the courts and how actions are instituted. He further related the European crisis situation in the ASEAN context. Atty. Elaine Bathan related the European crisis to the Philippine context. She stated that Economics is a cycle and that there are times when it goes below than what we expect it to be. Just like what Europe is experiencing now, the Philippines too is struggling with its economy. Furthermore, she said that the rendered decisions by the German constitutional courts placed much emphasis to what we call in the Philippines as “Checks and Balances”, and transparency in the transactions of all government agencies. Decision favoring the legitimacy of the ESM was

The last reactor. to rightly decide for their country through their act of ratifying the ESM. he related it to the local setting. in times of crisis. we can also have the same court destroying one of the very core principles of democracy and that is allowing the will of the people through their elected representatives to prevail. Finally. although the Philippines may not be directly affected by the European crisis. something can be learned out of it if ever the ASEAN would intend to put up a similar institution as the ESM. However. has contributed to the efficiency and effectivity in the decision of cases. according to her. According to him. While at one point. she concluded that it is always a matter of finding a balance as to when democracy and the Rule of Law be upheld without sacrificing the economic needs of the nation.deemed valid because the parliament was given much leverage to be informed which is of primordial importance. the concept of democracy. simplified the discussion and just like the previous speakers. Ramos. Dante T. it could also work like a double edged sword wherein the decision of the elected branch of government is overthrown by the non-elected branch of government. Ian Dominic Orino. we can have a court that upholds democracy and all its essence. The third reactor. She spoke about how the German Constitutional Court has legitimized the ESM treaty which exemplifies parallelism. gave a brief reaction to the lecture. Mention is also made that unlike Germany which has Constitutional courts (specialized courts) while the Philippines only has the Supreme Court to address constitutional issues. an elected body. the courts are given the opportunity to deeply engrain in its citizens. He mentioned that suits are filed by citizens against the government due to the failure of the parliament. He said that the European crisis was something complicated to be understood. As he said. The German set up. . Atty. He further discussed as to which should be given prominence between international law and domestic law and how the court endeavors to harmonize the conflicts. Dean Largo tackled on the role of the courts in times of great crisis. According to her. independence of the parliament is the basic concept of democracy.