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Zbigniew Ziobro: there are tendencies in the EU to liquidate cash. There aren’t. We explain

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“Cashless dictate” – this is another message of Sovereign Poland against the European Union. Zbigniew Ziobro claims that “the tendencies in the European Union are to liquidate cash and such a project was passed by the Polish parliament at one time”. However, neither the idea of ​​the European Commission nor the Polish act are aimed at abolishing cash.

On Sunday, June 4, Zbigniew Ziobro’s Sovereign Poland party organized a press conference in Jarosław under the slogan “In defense of cash”. Ziobro, Deputy Minister of Justice Marcin Warchoł and MP Maria Kurowska talked about the bill repealing the lowering of cash payment limits, which the PiS and Sovereign Poland MPs submitted in April 2023 to the Sejm. The Minister of Justice began the conference by saying:

Today we wanted to talk to entrepreneurs in Podkarpacie about cash, because the tendencies in the European Union are to liquidate cash. And such a project was passed by the Polish parliament at the time.

“That is why Solidarna – earlier – Poland submitted a project, and today it was taken over by Sovereign Poland, because that is our name, to defend cash. And this project about defending cash, about defending the right of Poles to their freedom, to security, to privacy in the area finances has already passed the first reading in the Sejm and I can inform you with satisfaction that all clubs, without exception, supported this project of Sovereign Poland,” Ziobro added. He went on to talk about the “freedom of Poles’ pockets”.

Warchoł about “cashless dictate”

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Then Deputy Minister Marcin Warchoł argued that “one hundred zlotys in your pocket is worth more than one hundred zlotys on your account”.

“A hundred zlotys in your pocket – even if it is spent – will be spent as much as it is worth, no additional fees for the store, for the card operator, for the bank, no additional tribute for those who would like to impose a cashless dictate on us. Cashless dictate, Klaus Schwab (President of the World Economic Forum – ed.) – This is a totalitarian state. Ladies and gentlemen, this is dictating what we should eat, how we should think, how we should live. As Sovereign Poland, we are for freedom, which is why we defend cash, “said Warchoł.

Act amending the Polish Governance

The “Project of Sovereign Poland” – which was talked about in Jarosław – this amendment of the act on personal income tax, the corporate income tax act and some other acts. It assumes changes regarding the Polish Deal program. The project was submitted by 40 deputies from the PiS club, not all of them belong to Sovereign Poland.

The amendment is to “defend cash” by repealing the provisions of the Polish Deal, according to which from January 1, 2024, the cash payment limit in Poland is to be reduced from 15 to 8 thousand. PLN in the case of payments “related to business activity”, i.e. between entrepreneurs.

The amendment is also intended to waive the obligation to make non-cash payments via a bank account in consumer-entrepreneur transactions, if their amount exceeds PLN 20,000. PLN – this provision was also supposed to come into force from 2024. The draft was submitted to the Sejm in April, and on May 26, the Public Finance Committee referred it for further work.

But are there really tendencies to liquidate cash in the European Union? And has the Polish parliament adopted a project aiming at this, as Minister Ziobro said? Well, no.

False Thesis No. 1: “The tendency in the European Union is to liquidate cash”

About the European Union’s cash plans He asked European Commission in March 2023 by Roman Haider, an Austrian MEP from the Identity and Democracy group (which brings together nationalist and eurosceptic parties). “There is talk of lowering the cash deposit limit. This could have an impact on financial privacy, freedom to transact and access to banking services,” Haider wrote. “How will it be ensured that the reduction of the limit on cash payments does not reduce the financial privacy of citizens and that the confidentiality of financial transactions remains guaranteed?” – He was asking.

The European Commission replied:

There is currently no EU-wide limit on cash payments. The Commission proposed to introduce such a limit, set at 10,000. while allowing Member States with lower limits at national level to keep them.

Commission officials explained that this proposal “aims to limit the use of disproportionate amounts of cash for individual payments in order to prevent money laundering and related crimes or the financing of terrorism”. The same has been translated in regulation the EU of July 2021, where there was a proposal to introduce a limit of 10,000. euro for cash transactions:

Large cash payments carry a very high risk of money laundering and terrorist financing. (…) It is therefore necessary to introduce an EU-wide limit for large cash payments of PLN 10,000. euro. Member States should be able to adopt lower thresholds and other stricter provisions.

The limit would apply only to entities trading in goods or services – and not to private transactions between natural persons, to which it would not apply. The regulation does not specify when these provisions would enter into force, and it is known from the reply of the European Commission that they have not yet been introduced.

Therefore, Zbigniew Ziobro’s words that “the tendencies in the European Union are such as to liquidate cash” are not true. Current EU legislation provides only for the introduction of a limit for cash transactions, which is to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing from sources whose origin cannot be determined, because they only deal in cash. In addition, the proposed limits will not apply to private transactions between natural persons, so Deputy Minister Warchoł’s claim about “cashless dictate” has no basis.

It is worth noting that Sovereign Poland’s proposal “in defense of cash” is contrary to the trends in the European Union, which therefore wants to eliminate large cash transactions in order to hinder money laundering and cash flows between suspicious entities and the financing of terrorism. The Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro, fighting against the limits proposed by the EU, therefore acts against the objectives of the EU and the European Commission.

False thesis no. 2: “such a project was passed by the Polish parliament at the time”

The amendment to the Act described above is intended to repeal the provisions of the Polish Order – i.e. the Act of October 29, 2021 amending the Personal Income Tax Act, the Corporate Income Tax Act and some other acts – regarding the reduction of the cash payment limit from PLN 15,000 to PLN 8,000 . zloty. However, it should be recalled that the entire Sovereign Poland (then still Solidarna Polska), as part of the PiS club in the Sejm, voted in favor of this law.

The results of the vote on the tax act from the Polish Governance Act on October 1, 2021Sejm.gov.pl

Zbigniew Ziobro said in Jarosław that “such a project” – in the sense of “eliminating cash as in the European Union” – was adopted in the past by the Polish parliament. He was wrong, because the Polish Deal does not assume the liquidation of cash at all, but only a reduction of the limit of cash transactions between entrepreneurs from 15 to 8 thousand. PLN and the introduction of a limit in consumer-entrepreneur transactions. And in October 2021, all MPs of the then Solidarna Polska – including Zbigniew Ziobro – voted for reducing the cash transaction limit.

Since the false message that the government wants to liquidate cash has been increasing on the Polish Internet for several weeks, the fact-checking portal Demagog.org took up the topic. On his question, the Government Information Center replied in May that “there are no plans to liquidate cash in Poland” and that “this is another example of fake news that fits into disinformation activities that are spreading especially in social media.”

Main photo source: TVN24

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