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Cash is freedom: The rebellion against Brussels control wins hearts and minds

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60 FEWER STORIES IN NOVEMBER DUE TO LOW FUNDS: WE NEED AND WELCOME DONATIONS TO KEEP US GOING: Please contact Michael Walsh for easy transfer details keyboardcosmetics@gmail.com

Cash is King: Already 450,000 inhabitants of Austria have signed a petition demanding that the right of citizens to pay in cash for any purchases without any restrictions to be included in the Constitution of the country, reports Le Monde. 

As noted in the material of the publication, the initiative is directed against the controlling policy of Brussels, where the introduction of a limit on cash payments in the amount of €10,000 is currently being discussed throughout the EU.

The 53-year-old owner of a carpentry shop on the outskirts of Vienna, Josef Binder, is one of those who, on principle, use only cash in calculations: he assures that he manages to do without bank cards at all. 

The Austrian master craftsman refuses to deviate from his principles even on tours. Fortunately, as his secretary Sabina Hanzl recalls, you can book hotels through travel agencies. 

Hanzl is responsible for ensuring that her boss uses the card account as little as possible. The rebellious Binder began to stick to such a policy after his bank impudently asked him for information about his income and their sources. 

‘They blocked my account, and this became a sign for me that the banks have too much power,’ the man explains his position to the journalist. 

It was Binder and Hanzl who originated the petition demanding to enshrine in the Austrian Constitution the right of citizens to pay in cash without any restrictions, according to the material of the French edition. 

By September 25, their initiative had already collected 450,000 signatures despite the fact that in order for it to be considered in parliament, only 100,000 thousand are needed. 

‘And we still receive an additional 10,000 signatures every hour,’ says Binder proudly. The entrepreneur himself sees his initiative as a crusade against the controlling nature of the state apparatus. This control, he suspects, is being introduced into all spheres of life. Cash is freedom, he explains. 

Binder and his secretary were prompted to take an active civic stand by a step that is being discussed in Brussels right now, namely, the introduction of a ceiling for any cash payments in the amount of €10,000 throughout the EU. As the correspondent of the newspaper recalls, the European Commission proposed this measure back in July 2021, claiming that it would help fight money laundering. While it is under consideration by the EU Council, however, by December it can still be accepted. If this happens, France will hardly notice this, since its national laws already limit cash transactions to €1,000 since 2015, but for Austria, where there have been no such restrictions so far, the consequences will become tangible the author states. 

Austrians, along with residents of Germany and southern European countries, remain active users of cash. It is still quite common for them to pay for purchases in supermarkets with packs of banknotes of 200 euros.

According to the European Central Bank for 2019, no more recent statistics were published, in Mozart’s homeland, cash was paid for 79% of purchases against 59% in France. According to the department, cash remains the preferred means of payment for Austrians. 

Cash transactions help to avoid paying state taxes but such arguments do not work for Josef Binder. ‘In Austria, there is a requirement to register everything through the cash desk, and enterprises are required to report income at the request of the authorities,’ he explains, noting that criminals often use non-cash cryptocurrency. Although Binder admits that he almost never manages to make purchases of more than €10,000 in cash anyway.

He fears that this limit will eventually be lowered as happened in Greece, where it was lowered to €500. But if Austria amends its Constitution, Brussels’ initiatives can be thwarted, the businessman is convinced. 

The pro-cash campaigners – including some banks said that it was important to have a cash reserve in case of a serious crisis and that cash allows you to ensure privacy and preserve the anonymity of the buyer.

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