The upper limit for cash proposed by the EU Commission is moving European hearts. At today’s meeting of EU finance ministers, Austria in particular met with resistance to the Brussels plans.
It was just a video link from the European finance ministers. Nevertheless, shortly before the summer break, there was already a foretaste of what will be part of the EU’s financial policy afterwards – i.e. from September – onwards: namely, the intensified fight against money laundering. The EU Commission had only made proposals last week: Among other things, it would like an upper limit of 10,000 euros for cash payments to apply in the future. It is intended to help ensure that money from criminal transactions can no longer be so easily fed into the regular economy.
Cash “of fundamental importance” for Austria
Austria’s Finance Minister Gernot Blümel spoke out clearly against this today: Cash is a sensitive issue in Austria and of fundamental importance for citizens for the feeling of security and freedom. His country also sees no additional benefit from binding limits and therefore speaks out against it.
So far this has not been heard so explicitly from Germany; however, the situation is similar in the largest EU member state. Other countries such as Luxembourg and Cyprus – as well as Germany and Austria – would first have to introduce a cash limit. In other EU countries, on the other hand, there have long been upper limits, in some cases significantly lower than the 10,000 euros now required by the EU.
Germany supports surveillance authority
The German EU Ambassador Michael Clauss, who took part for Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, only made specific statements today about the planned new surveillance authority for the fight against money laundering, which could possibly be located in Frankfurt. “We support the proposal,” said Clauss. From the German point of view, the authority should be given far-reaching powers and have an independent and accountable administration.
In the discussion, EU financial market commissioner Mairead McGuinness once again emphasized that the planned upper limit for cash does not mean that cash should be abolished. Cash is extremely important, she said. But it has to be clean. The official negotiations of the EU countries on the anti-money laundering package are to begin in September. Concrete measures are not expected to be passed before next year.
Agreement on payouts from Corona funds
On the other hand, there was no conflict with the release of further billions from the EU’s Corona fund. Now Croatia, Lithuania, Cyprus, and Slovenia will also get their share of it. No decision was made on the budget for Hungary. The issue here is still whether Viktor Orban’s government has to withdraw its controversial so-called homosexual law in order to comply with the EU’s fundamental rule of law.