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Slovakia is codifying the right to use cash as a payment method following a vote on amendments to the country’s constitution passed in parliament on June 15.
The new law was sponsored by the Sme Rodina party, also known as the We Are Family party, and was reportedly designed as a precautionary measure against the proposed digital euro.
According to the European news agency Euractiv, MP Milos Svrček, one of the law’s co-sponsors, told MPs during a debate that the amendment was needed to protect Slovakia’s financial sovereignty:
“It is very important that there is a provision in the Constitution on the basis of which we can protect ourselves in the future from any instructions from the outside, they say, there can only be a digital euro and no other payment options.”
In tandem with legislation codifying the right to use cash, Euractiv also says Slovakia will amend its constitution to strengthen the right of shop owners to refuse cash when paying for goods and services. This is reportedly intended to protect store owners from looting and exposure to germs, and to provide an exemption from existing cash acceptance laws for stores offering card-only vending machines.
The European Union has been exploring the possibility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or digital euro for some time now. Analysts who conducted the study on behalf of Parliament recently described the issue as “a solution in search of a problem” but advised the EU to be prepared to pursue this option further in the future.
Among the biggest points of contention in the potential development and implementation of a digital euro is the idea that such a currency would be completely centralized and thus allow a single government entity to control transactions conducted with it. Some experts believe that this represents an internal threat to privacy.
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There is also the issue of competition. While CBDCs can empower citizens who may have limited or no access to traditional digital banking tools without charging account premiums or internal transaction fees, they pose a potential threat to private sector companies and banks that profit from offering lending solutions. for the underbanked.