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Protecting the euro against counterfeiting: the role of Europol

As the legal currency in thirteen Member States of the European Union, the euro has increasingly become a global currency and thus a high-priority target for international counterfeiting organisations in the European Union and third countries. The Council has designated Europol as the central office for combating euro counterfeiting in order to apply effectively the 1929 Geneva Convention and to step up cooperation among the Member States themselves, and between the Member States, Europol and third countries.


Council Decision 2005/511/JHA of 12 July 2005 on protecting the euro against counterfeiting, by designating Europol as the Central Office for combating euro counterfeiting.


The European Union is stepping up cooperation among Member States and between Member States and Europol with a view to protecting the euro against counterfeiting at international level. Third countries need a central contact for information on counterfeit euros. All such information is to be brought together for purposes of analysis at Europol, which acts as the Central Office for combating euro counterfeiting pursuant to the International Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency agreed on 20 April 1929 in Geneva ("Geneva Convention").

Role of Europol

Europol acts as the Central Office for combating euro counterfeiting within the meaning of Article 12 of the Geneva Convention, which states "In every country, within the framework of its domestic law, investigations on the subject of counterfeiting should be organised by a central office."

Within the context of its mandate, Europol:

  • centralises and processes all information of a nature to facilitate the investigation, prevention and combating of euro counterfeiting and forwards this information to the national central offices of the Member States;
  • corresponds directly with the central offices of third countries in accordance with the rules on the transmission of personal data;
  • forwards, in so far as it considers it expedient, to the central offices of third countries a set of specimens of actual euros;
  • regularly notifies the central offices of third countries of new currency issued, the withdrawal of currency from circulation, any discovery of counterfeit or falsified euro currency, details of discoveries of counterfeiting, etc.

Where counterfeiting of all other currencies is concerned, the national central offices retain competence.

Applying the 1929 Geneva Convention effectively

The International Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency agreed on 20 April 1929 in Geneva should be applied more effectively. It lays down effective rules for preventing and combating counterfeiting infringements. The word "currency" refers to banknotes and coins having legal tender.

The Council considers it expedient that all Member States should become contracting parties to the Convention.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 2005/511/JHA16.07.2005-Official Journal L 185 of 16.07.2005
Last updated: 01.01.2007
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