I just got this from S&P: (My emphases)
‘Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that the delay by the Federal Republic of Germany (unsolicited ratings AAA/Stable/A-1+) in ratifying the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) has no immediate rating implications for sovereigns in the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU or eurozone).
The ruling coalition and the main opposition parties have been able to agree on a pact for sustainable growth and employment. This therefore established the necessary two-thirds majority required for parliamentary ratification of the ESM, expected on June 29, 2012. However, Federal President Joachim Gauck is reportedly withholding his signature until the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has given its opinion on whether the ESM is compatible with the German constitution.
We believe this will cause a delay and that it is now unlikely that the ESM will be legally ratified by July 1, as originally planned. Nevertheless, we anticipate that the decision from Karlsruhe will be swift, allowing for a final ratification of the ESM in the near future. We therefore consider that the delay in obtaining political approval has no implication on any sovereign rating in the eurozone.
An unexpected and more significant delay in making the ESM operational, however, could in our view have negative consequences. The ESM is a key pillar in Europe’s crisis management efforts. Failure to enact it in a timely manner could, in the absence of offsetting arrangements, cause negative rating implications, especially–but not necessarily exclusively–for the lower rated euro area member sovereigns.’
Obviously, Standard & Poors know something we don’t. I wonder what it might be, and who briefed them?