The BVerfG PSPP/Weiss Urteil and the Euro Area: a Constitutional Crossroads, a Dead-End… or Perhaps Not So Much?


  • Francisco Javier Donaire Villa University Carlos III of Madrid


PSPP, BVerfG, EMU, Proportionality, Fundamental Rights, Ultra Vires Kontrolle


This article comments on the BVerfG Second Senate’s PSPP/Weiss Urteil, which declared as ultra vires the Decisions of the European Central Bank on a Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP), on the previous BVerfG’s case-law on such ultra vires control of EU derivative legislation, as well as on the EUCJ’s Weiss Judgement which upheld such Decisions, in response to a preliminary reference submitted by the aforementioned Second Senate in the same case. The paper also reviews whether such EU legal acts truly breached the fundamental right to vote of the complainants before the BVerfG, as the Judgement found, or if it was rather an abstract claim due to an economic and political discrepancy in relation to the contested acts but lacking any actual legal relevance. The conformity with EU law of the BVerfG’s doctrine of its ultra vires Kontrolle on EU secondary law is also discussed, noting that its PSPP/Weiss Urteil has been the first German ruling to annul EU legal acts in application of such doctrine. The article concludes reflecting on the formal legal effects, if any, as well as on the unformal ones (maybe many), of this BVerfG’ Second Senate judgement over the future of the Euro Area.

Author Biography

Francisco Javier Donaire Villa, University Carlos III of Madrid


Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at the University Carlos III of Madrid. 90 research publications on Constitutional and EU Law. Visiting Researcher at the Institut d’Études Européens-Université Libre de Bruxelles, and at the Scuola Universitaria Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa. Invited Professor at Universities of México (Baja California, and CENADE at the F.D.), Brazil (Pará) and Perú (Pontificia Universidad Católica). Former University Carlos III’s Vice-Dean of Law and Business Administration.


Amelie Champsaur, Cleary Gottlieb Steen, & Hamilton. (2020, Mar 22,). Opinion: The German Constitutional Court has fallen into its own trap. International Financial Law Review. Retrieved from:

Editorial Comments. (2020). Not mastering the treaties: The German Federal Constitutional Court's PSPP judgment. Common Market Law Review, 57(4), 965-977.

Marzal, T. (2020, /5/09). Is the BVerfG PSPP decision “simply not comprehensible”? A critique of the judgment’s reasoning on proportionality. Retrieved from:

Meier-Beck, P. (2020, /5/20). Ultra vires? Retrieved from:

Sur la décision de la Cour constitutionnelle allemande du 5 mai 2020. (2020). Revue critique de droit international privé, 3(3). Retrieved from:

Utrilla, D. (2020). Three months after Weiss: Was nun? EU Law Live Retrieved from:



How to Cite

Donaire Villa, F. J. (2022). The BVerfG PSPP/Weiss Urteil and the Euro Area: a Constitutional Crossroads, a Dead-End… or Perhaps Not So Much?. Review of International and European Economic Law, 1(1), 55–67. Retrieved from