"The infringement procedure does not mean that proceedings have begun. The first step is a letter of intent, which means asking the federal government questions. The government will answer these questions to the best of its knowledge and belief," Merkel said in parliament.
She argued that the court ruling should be seen as an opportunity to strengthen the EU's single currency union by addressing grey areas of overlapping authority between the national and EU levels. She added that the 19-nation euro area needed to integrate even further.
The court ruled that Germany did not have enough oversight over the ECB's purchases of government bonds issued by indebted eurozone countries — the so-called quantitative easing — which opened the way for the German central bank to quit the program in three months' time. The EU's executive body said it might start infringement proceedings against Germany.