Germany's highest court Thursday rejected two constitutional court cases against Europe's common currency, removing what may have been the last obstacles to the 1999 debut of the euro.
The Federal Constitutional Court tossed out the cases unanimously, calling them "clearly unfounded."In the first suit, filed in January, four professors had urged the court to postpone the euro, saying the currency union was bound to fail because Germany and other prospective members cannot meet strict fiscal requirements, such as debt reduction.
The second suit, filed Wednesday, asked the court to stop the euro altogether unless highly indebted nations such as Italy and Belgium are kept out. Manfred Brunner, head of a party dedicated to saving the German mark, filed his suit after Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government recommended last week that group comprising 11 countries launch the euro.
Brunner's complaint argued the proposal was unconstitutional because most countries failed to meet a strict reading of economic and fiscal targets for the euro agreed upon by the 15-nation European Union. His group argues a "soft currency" will lead to inflation.
Wednesday's suit was a last-ditch attempt to stop the euro before parliament votes this month on adopting the new money and before European leaders meet May 2 to confirm candidates for the Jan. 1, 1999, launch.
With national elections five months away, Kohl has made the euro launch central to his bid for an unprecedented fifth term in office.
In their lawsuit, the four professors had complained that Germany and other EU members are making unrealistic adjustments to meet those criteria. The practice has been derisively called "creative accounting" - speeded-up privatizations, pension fund transfers and other maneuvers to raise money.