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Austrian chancellor makes cash pledge

The right to use cash for payments should be enshrined in the Austrian constitution, Chancellor Karl Nehammer believes

The ability to use cash for payments instead of banking cards or digital currencies should become a constitutional right in Austria, Chancellor Karl Nehammer has said.

The chancellor argued cash remains an extremely popular means of payment in Austria, and the country’s people should have a “right to cash.”

“Pocket money for the child. The rainy day reserve at home. The money in the wallet just in case. In Austria alone, €47 billion is withdrawn from ATMs every year, and on average, every Austrian carries €102 in cash. Cash plays an important role in our everyday lives,” Nehammer said in a statement on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. The chancellor added that he was committed to “ensuring that cash is constitutionally protected as a means of payment.”


Nehammer has already tasked the country’s Finance Minister Magnus Brunner to draw up a proposal ahead of a meeting with banks in September, according to news agency APA.

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The idea to somehow enshrine the use of cash in Austria’s constitution has been among the favored talking points of the country’s right-wing politicians for years. Despite the Austrian National Bank’s repeated assurances to keep cash as a means of payment and denial of harboring plans to phase it out, right-wingers have been insisting that the right to anonymous cash payments is at risk. 

Now, some of them were apparently dissatisfied with Nehammer and conservatives picking the populists’ idea of choice and turning it into government policy.


For instance, the move was blasted by the leader of the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), Herbert Kickl, who attacked Nehammer’s remarks in a party statement. “Aren’t you ashamed of stealing ideas this way from the ‘evil and extreme’ FPO? Don’t you have any sensible ideas of your own?” he said.

August 05, 2023 at 12:57AM

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