Slovakia’s Constitution Amended to Safeguard Cash Payments as Digital Euro Concerns Rise
In an effort to secure the right of its citizens to make cash payments, a member of the eurozone has made changes to its constitution. This move comes amidst growing concerns that the digital form of the common European currency may eventually become the sole means of payment within the eurozone, despite being initially presented as just an alternative.
Lawmakers in Slovakia Pass Constitutional Amendment to Protect Cash Payments
Slovak citizens will now have the assurance of their constitutional right to use cash for purchasing goods and services. This amendment has been approved by a substantial majority in the country’s parliament. According to a report by the Euractiv news portal, 111 out of 150 members of the legislature supported the proposed legislation.
The primary objective of this amendment is to safeguard physical cash payments in case the digital euro becomes mandatory across the eurozone, of which Slovakia is a part. The European Central Bank (ECB) is currently leading the development of the digital version of the euro, the official currency of the euro area.
The proposal to amend the constitution was put forth by the right-wing, Eurosceptic party known as Sme Rodina (We Are Family). One of the authors of the law, Miloš Svrček, emphasized the importance of having a constitutional provision to protect against any external orders that might enforce the use of exclusively digital euro payments. He stated, “It is crucial to have a provision in the Constitution that allows us to defend ourselves in the future, ensuring that there can be multiple payment options rather than just the digital euro.”
While EU institutions claim that they do not intend to replace cash with the new central bank digital currency (CBDC), critics remain skeptical. They fear that ECB-controlled transactions with the digital euro may eventually become obligatory across the entire eurozone. Liberal lawmaker Marián Viskupič expressed his concerns, stating, “Although it may initially be presented as an alternative, it will gradually become clear that it will be the exclusive option.”
Viskupič further elaborated that the digital euro could enable extensive monitoring of individuals’ lives by the ECB, describing the CBDC project as “a dream come true for social engineers.” Members of the far-right within the legislature share similar apprehensions and caution against the “complete erosion of privacy.”
In addition, Slovakia’s parliament, known as the National Council, has also passed an amendment to protect the interests of merchants who refuse to accept cash for valid reasons. This includes operators of card-only vending machines and shopkeepers concerned about security risks such as robberies.
The question arises whether other eurozone members will adopt similar legislation to safeguard cash payments. Feel free to share your thoughts on this matter in the comments section below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about cash payments
What is the purpose of amending the constitution in Slovakia regarding cash payments?
The purpose of amending the constitution in Slovakia is to guarantee the right of citizens to make cash payments and protect physical payment options in case the digital euro becomes mandatory in the eurozone.
Why are there concerns about the digital euro replacing cash payments?
There are concerns that the digital euro, despite being initially presented as an alternative, may gradually become the exclusive means of payment in the eurozone. Critics worry that transactions with the digital euro will be controlled by the European Central Bank (ECB) and raise concerns about potential loss of privacy.
Who proposed the amendment to protect cash payments in Slovakia?
The amendment was proposed by the right-wing, Eurosceptic party known as Sme Rodina (We Are Family) in Slovakia.
How many lawmakers supported the amendment in Slovakia’s parliament?
The amendment to protect cash payments in Slovakia was approved by a sizable majority in the parliament, with 111 out of 150 members of the legislature backing the draft law.
What other provisions were passed alongside the amendment in Slovakia?
In addition to the amendment, the parliament also passed an amendment to protect the interests of merchants who refuse to accept cash for valid reasons, such as operators of card-only vending machines and shopkeepers concerned about security risks.
More about cash payments
- Euractiv: Right to Pay With Cash Enshrined in Constitution of Slovakia Amid Digital Euro Fears
- European Central Bank (ECB)
- Constitution of Slovakia
- Sme Rodina (We Are Family) party
- Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)