By Simon Miller

The German constitutional court has backed the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) but has ruled that Germany's contributions must not exceed €190bn (£152bn).

As a result the last hurdle to the bailout fund has been cleared although the political ramifications will continue in Germany as the court also ruled that an increase to the ESM had to be cleared by both houses of the country's parliament as there shouldn't be "unlimited liability" for the nation which will be contributing 27% of the fund.

Some 37,000 people had signed a petition to the court asking it to block the ESM, and make it subject to a referendum.

After weeks of deliberation, the court's Chief Justice Andreas Vosskuhle said it "rejected the injunctions with the stipulation that a ratification of the ESM Treaty is only admissible if [certain conditions] can be guaranteed under international law".

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