Germany, France agree to cooperate on cash transaction limits

French and German ministers said Tuesday that they would cooperate to establish a uniform limit for cash transactions as a tactic to fight terrorism and crime.

"We are trying to set uniform upper limits for cash transactions in Europe," said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Paris. "What we are not trying to do, is set an upper limit on how much cash a person can possess."

After meeting, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Schaeuble and their French counterparts Emmanuel Macron and Michel Sapin said restricting cash flows was an important way to combat illegal activity by knowing when someone made a large transaction.

In Germany, the government is considering a limit of 5,000 euros (5,648 dollars). France set a limit of 1,000 euros in 2015.

Earlier this week, mass circulation German newspaper Bild ran a petition addressed to Schaeuble protesting the proposal to limit cash transactions.

"Cash means freedom. I want to be able to decide for myself, what and how much I pay in cash," the petition read. The newspaper encouraged its readers to sign it and mail it to the finance minister.

Cash plays a larger role in Germany than many other western states as a result of the nation's experience in the 1920s with the political and economic destabilizing effects of hyperinflation.

According to Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, 79 per cent of all transactions carried out in the nation in 2014 were in cash.

In a statement, the ministers also said they supported efforts to create more transparency in national banking systems, adding that they backed plans in Brussels to dry up sources of terrorist financing such as trafficking in cultural property.

Last update: Tue, 09/02/2016 - 20:09

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