Court adviser backs ECB bond buying
An adviser to the European Court of Justice has said the European Central Bank's offer to purchase government bonds of troubled countries is "compatible in principle" with the EU treaty.
The bond purchase programme helped calm market turmoil that threatened to break up the euro currency union when it was announced in 2012 but never implemented.
Opponents in Germany challenged the programme in court. They say the ECB overstepped its authority and violated an EU ban on the central bank directly bailing out governments.
Markets have been watching the case in part because the ECB is considering a broader bond purchase programme aimed at stimulating the economy.
The opinion from advocate general Pedro Cruz Villalon is preliminary before a decision by the court's judges later this year.