The Deutsche Welle folks laid out the basic story this afternoon, and it's a curious piece.
The EU said today that it will take Germany and five other member states of the EU into court for exceeding the EU air pollution standard. The problem? Diesel particles from particulate matter and and nitrogen dioxide.
So the curious side story? Well....German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, SPD Party, has been called to report to the EU, and there's some type of 'warning letter' involved. They apparently want Barbara to explain why she can't fix this.
What'll happen here? It's a pretty wild script. No one can say for sure.
So, if you do court action.....how long can this circulate via the EU courts? Two years.....maybe even longer.
The disciplinary device here? Basically, you could fine Germany....but would they pay the fine?
The fact that five other countries are now being called? It means that the standard set by the EU...might not be capable of being met, which some judges in the EU system might ask how the EU arrived at the magic numbers.
The power of the German Environmental Minister? Well....that's a curious side story as well. She can't really tell the cities in Germany what to do. Nor can she make that many demands on the sixteen German states.
The diesel mess? If Merkel had attached the government to the problem last year.....they would be seriously involved and a part of the 'solution'.....but oddly, she choose to stay outside of the mess and simply 'monitor' things (merkling is the term German kids would use.....meaning no leadership decision, just watching).
Does the EU even have power to dominate the individual states on this? No. It would mean that you'd disqualifty diesel vehicles entirely, and so far.....no one has really handed off that kind of authority to them.
Then you come to the final part of this story.....what if you did fine the Germans? Say one billion a month....would that really change much of anything except making the German public more and more anti-EU? Oh yeah.....and doing this type of action thirteen months before the EU representative election? Oh yeah.....that would help to motivate people against the EU.