Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has proposed a three-point plan to enshrine the use of cash in the country’s constitution. The aim is to address concerns that the citizen’s right to use paper money and coins may disappear. According to the plan, the right to cash would be protected in the constitution, and the national bank would be required to ensure the necessary cash flow. Additionally, the plan would obligate bankers to establish outlets in close proximity to citizens to ensure that payments using cash remain possible.
The chancellor highlighted the growing concerns among Austrians regarding the restriction of cash as a means of payment. He noted that about €47 billion ($52 billion) is withdrawn from ATMs in Austria every year, and on average, each Austrian carries €102 in cash. Furthermore, 67% of payments under €20 (about $22) in Austria are made using cash. These figures demonstrate the essential role that cash plays in the country’s economy, making it crucial to establish a clear legal framework to protect its use. Nehammer emphasized that individuals should have the freedom to decide how they want to pay.
To implement the plan, Finance Minister Magnus Brunner has been appointed, and a roundtable discussion will take place in September with relevant ministries, industry representatives, and the national bank. This meeting aims to determine the most effective way to ensure the protection and accessibility of cash for all Austrians.
While electronic payments have gained popularity in many European countries, both Austria and neighboring Germany have remained attached to cash, especially for everyday small transactions. The proposal to enshrine cash in Austria’s constitution reflects the importance of maintaining the choice of payment methods for its citizens.
In conclusion, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer is pushing for a constitutional amendment to protect the use of cash in the country. The three-point plan includes safeguarding the right to cash in the constitution, ensuring the necessary cash flow through the national bank, and requiring bankers to establish outlets in close proximity to citizens. The aim is to address concerns about the potential restriction of cash and to allow individuals the freedom to choose their preferred payment method. By enshrining the use of cash in the constitution, Austria aims to reinforce its commitment to keeping cash as an essential means of payment.