Judges at the EU Court of Justice said there was nothing to indicate the lawsuits by Germany-based investors were “manifestly outside” the scope of EU law. “The road is free and we can now go ahead and sue,” said Olaf Hoepner, a lawyer who represents at least 260 claimants in pending cases.

“The first big hurdle has now been overcome, next comes the question whether Greece can claim immunity.”

Hundreds of lawsuits by Greek government bondholders in Germany had been on hold since 2013 pending the ruling. The bondholders argue that Greece in 2012 forced them to swap their securities with new government bonds of a significantly lower nominal value. While none of the claimants accepted Greece’s initial offer, the government carried out the proposed exchange.

The EU court’s decision comes days before it is due to rule on another German case with the potential to send shock waves across the euro area. Judges are scheduled to deliver a verdict on whether ECB president Mario Draghi overstepped the mark with a 2012 bond-buying plan he designed to help save the euro.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, said the ruling “strengthens the efficiency and speed in judicial procedures in civil matters” between the bloc’s nations.

Source and full story: Irish Examiner, 12 June 2015

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