EU cash payment limit proposal Austria speaks out against

EU cash payment limit proposal Austria speaks out against
Gernot Bluemel

Austrian Finance Minister, Gernot Bluemel, on Monday voiced opposition to plan for an upper threshold of 10,000 euros ($11,790) for cash payments to help tackle money laundering in the European Union

“Cash is a sensitive subject in Austria,’’ Bluemel said in a video conference with his EU counterparts during a debate on proposals set out by the European Commission last week.

While Vienna welcomed other elements of the plan like setting up a dedicated anti-money-laundering agency and regulating cryptocurrencies more tightly, Bluemel said many Austrians viewed cash as fundamental to safety and liberty.

“We do not see the additional value of a general cash payment threshold,’’ he said.

The EU executive estimates that money laundering costs the bloc about one per cent of its gross domestic product every year and believes that a cash cap on professional transactions could help remedy this.

Private transactions, like the sale of a car between two individuals, wouldn’t be prohibited, however.

Most EU countries in fact already have stricter limits in place, starting from 500 euros in Greece.

The threshold would have to be introduced in states like Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and Cyprus or lowered in others.

Berlin’s representative at Monday’s meeting did not address the cash limit during the publicly viewable session.

The commission’s proposals would have to be signed off by the member states and the European Parliament to go ahead.

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