Closely preceding EU Commission’s digital euro proposal, Slovakia amended its constitution to better protect cash. New regulations guarantee every citizen the right to pay for goods and services in physical money. The amendment, proposed by the Sme Rodina (We Are Family) party, was approved by the Slovakian parliament last week with votes from 111 MPs.
“It is very important that there is a provision in the Constitution based on which we can defend ourselves in the future against any orders from the outside, saying there can only be digital euro and no other payment options,” said MP Miloš Svrček, one of the law’s authors, quoted by the EurActive.com website.
The EU plans to roll out the digital euro have finally started to take shape with the upcoming proposal for CBDC regulation. The draft bill was scheduled for publication on June 28 but has been put on hold – after its release had already been delayed in May. According to the leaks, the regulation outlaws paying interest on and surcharges for using a digital euro. Also, the EU’s CBDC is required to support offline payments imitating cash. Last but not least, the bill bans programmability, i.e., programming the money for limited future use.
Still, anxieties concerning central bank-issued digital money don’t seem unfounded. Once the technological infrastructure for issuing digital euro is in place, the laws can be quickly updated to fit current political or economic needs, subverting legal controls introduced at the outset. “It [digital euro] may be initially sold as an alternative, but gradually it will become apparent that it can only be exclusive,” liberal MP Marián Viskupič said. He added that the CBDC would increase the “monitoring of a person’s entire life” and called it “a social engineer’s dream,” also warning of “total loss of privacy.”