CJEU Protects the Right to Pay in Cash

Earlier this year, in January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered a judgement relating to two German citizens who sought to pay a radio and television licence fee, due to Hessischer Rundfunk (the broadcasting body), in cash. However, the same authority refused the payment in cash due to its regulations on the procedure for payment of radio and television licence fees, precluding any possibility of paying the licence fee in cash.

The German plaintiffs argued before the Bundesverwaltungsgericht (the German Federal Administrative Court) for their right to pay the broadcasting fee in cash, on the basis that such refusal to accept cash violated the status of euro banknotes and coins as legal tender.

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.

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