The Directive on the protection of the euro and other currencies through criminal law measures introduces tougher sanctions for criminals and improved tools for cross-border investigation. These EU rules must be implemented and applied by all Member States as of today.
Since the euro was introduced in 2002, counterfeiting is estimated to have cost the EU at least €500 million. Recent figures published by the European Commission and the ECB show that approximately 150 000 fake euro coins and 900 000 fake euro notes were withdrawn from circulation last year.
The new rules will set rules for sanctions Member States must provide that a judge can sanction production of counterfeitsup to eight years and distribution of fake notes and coins up to five years. It also ensures that investigative tools for organised crime or serious cases provided for in national law can be used in cases of counterfeiting, thus improving the quality of cross-border investigation in this field. Analysing seized forgeries will also now be possible earlier during judicial proceedings, which will improve detection of counterfeit euros and prevent their circulation. Every two years, Member States will have to report on counterfeiting with recent data to the European Commission. The Directive was proposed by the European Commission in February 2013 (IP/13/88) and adopted by Finance Ministers on 6 May 2014 (MEMO/14/333).