Chancellor Karl Nehammer of Austria has proposed adding constitutional protections to citizens’ rights to use cash as a form of payment. In a world facing the increasing prospect of central bank digital currencies becoming ubiquitous, this would be a powerful signal that cash is still king, and that people want the freedom of cash. The AP’s Geir Moulson reports:
Austria’s leader is proposing to enshrine in the country’s constitution a right to use cash, which remains more popular in the Alpine nation than in many other places.
Chancellor Karl Nehammer said in a statement on Friday that “more and more people are concerned that cash could be restricted as a means of payment in Austria.” His office said that the “uncertainty” is fueled by contradictory information and reports.
“People in Austria have a right to cash,” Nehammer said.
While payments by card and electronic methods have become increasingly dominant in many European countries, Austria and neighboring Germany remain relatively attached to cash. The government says 47 billion euros ($51 billion) per year are withdrawn from ATMs in Austria, a country of about 9.1 million people.
Protecting cash against supposed threats has been a demand of the far-right opposition Freedom Party, which has led polls in Austria in recent months. The country’s next election is due in 2024.
Asked in an interview with the Austria Press Agency whether it wasn’t populist to run after the Freedom Party on the issue, the conservative Nehammer replied that the party stands for “beating the drum a lot without actually doing anything for this.”
The chancellor’s proposal, according to his office, involves a “constitutional protection of cash as a means of payment,” ensuring that people can still pay with cash, and securing a “basic supply” of cash in cooperation with Austria’s central bank. Austria is one of 20 countries that are part of the euro area.
Action Line: Your Survival Guy has warned about the threat of a cashless society. You’ve also read my suggestions for your cash. In light of the dangers of a central bank digital currency, you want to think about having cash on hand. Click here to subscribe to my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter, and become a Survivor.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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