Confiscated euro banknotes: Many EU countries already have limits on cash payments
Photo: Silas Stein / dpa
The EU Commission wants to combat money laundering with a comprehensive package of measures, including an upper limit of 10,000 euros for payments with cash. Austria has now clearly spoken out against such a limit. Cash is a sensitive topic in Austria and of fundamental importance for the citizens for the feeling of security and freedom, said Finance Minister Gernot Blümel in a video link with colleagues from other EU countries. Austria also sees no additional benefit from binding limits.
An EU-wide cash limit is intended to help ensure that money from criminal transactions can no longer be fed into the regular economy so easily.
However, the EU Commission's proposal provides for exceptions, for example for transactions between private individuals or people without an account.
A number of Member States already have limits on payments with cash.
Countries like Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and Cyprus would have to introduce them first.
In the discussion, EU financial market commissioner Mairead McGuinness 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 German government did not take a position on the subject at the informal meeting of finance ministers.
The German EU ambassador Michael Clauss, who took part for Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD), only made specific comments on 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.
The official negotiations of the EU countries on the anti-money laundering package are to begin in September.
In addition, the European Parliament must also agree.
Concrete measures are not expected to be passed before the coming year.
fdi / dpa