Restricting the Use of Cash in the European Monetary Union

Forschungsbereich: Central Bank Law
Forscher: Helmut Siekmann
Datum: 1.1.2016

The use of cash is being increasingly restricted inside the European Monetary Union and in May 2016 the European Central Bank decided to end the production of 500 euro banknotes. In general, as main arguments cost-effectiveness and the fight against terrorism are cited. In his Working Paper, Helmut Siekmann analyzes the legal basis of banknotes and coins in the European Union.


According to Siekmann, from a legal point of view, the abolition of cash or restrictions appears to be an infraction of EU law and of German constitutional law. Depending on the details, this also holds true for mere restrictions.


For Siekmann another argument for the constraints is probably most important but not disclosed so much in public: “Making the use of cash more costly or abolishing it completely may finally bestow upon the present ‘unconventional’ monetary policy the effectiveness it appears to be lacking so far”. (29.09.16)

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