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Penal sanctions against counterfeiting of the euro

The Framework Decision is designed to ensure that the euro is appropriately protected against counterfeiting by the criminal laws of all Member States.

ACT

Council Framework Decision 2000/383/JHA of 29 May 2000 on increasing protection by criminal penalties and other sanctions against counterfeiting in connection with the introduction of the euro [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

The need to combat counterfeiting and falsification of euro banknotes and coins has been mentioned in various acts, including Regulation (EC) No 974/98 of 3 May 1998 on the introduction of the single currency  and the Commission communication of 23 July 1998 on the protection of the euro [COM(1998) 474 final]. To this end, the Council, by way of Resolution of 28 May 1999 on increasing protection by penal sanctions against counterfeiting in connection with the introduction of the euro, wanted the euro to be appropriately protected in all Member States by effective criminal law measures before the new currency was put into circulation on 1 January 2002.

The 1929 International Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency is the basic instrument of protection by penal sanctions against counterfeiting at international level.

The Framework Decision supplements the 1929 Convention by requiring Member States to introduce effective, proportional and dissuasive penalties, including terms of imprisonment which can give rise to extradition, for the following:

  • any fraudulent making or altering of currency;
  • the fraudulent uttering of counterfeit currency;
  • the import, export, transport, receiving, or obtaining of counterfeit currency with a view to uttering the same;
  • the fraudulent making, receiving, obtaining or possession of articles, computer programs, holograms or other instruments or means for the counterfeiting or altering of currency.

Penalties and jurisdiction

For the offences of fraudulent making or altering of currency, the maximum penalty provided for may not be set at less than eight years.

Every Member State has jurisdiction over offences committed on its territory. In the case of the counterfeiting of the euro, however, the Member States having adopted the euro may bring prosecutions irrespective of the place where the offence was committed. If several Member States have jurisdiction, they are to cooperate with a view to centralising the prosecution in a single State.

Framework Decision 2001/888/JHA supplements Framework Decision 2000/383/JHA with regard to the recognition of previous convictions. Since 1 January 2003, Member States have had to take on board the principle of the recognition of previous convictions under the conditions prevailing under their domestic laws. Moreover, they have had to recognise, for the purpose of establishing habitual criminality, final sentences handed down in another Member State for the offences referred to in Framework Decision 2000/383/JHA.

This act is affected by the judgment handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Case C-176/03 concerning the apportionment of competences in criminal matters between the European Commission and the Council of the European Union.

ActDate of entry into forceDeadline for transposal in Member StatesOfficial Journal
Framework Decision 2000/383/JHA14.6.200129.5.2001OJ L 140, 14.6.2000
Amending ActDate of entry into forceDeadline for transposal in Member StatesOfficial Journal
Framework Decision 2001/888/JHA14.12.200131.12.2002OJ L 329, 14.12.2001

RELATED ACTS

Third Commission Report of 17 September 2007 based on Article 11 of the Council Framework Decision of 29 May 2000 on increasing protection by criminal penalties and other sanctions against counterfeiting in connection with the introduction of the euro [COM (2007) 524 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

This third report takes a detailed look at the state of play of transposal of the Framework Decision in the 27 Member States of the European Union. The Commission concludes that, in general, transposal has been satisfactory but draws attention to the fact that some Member States have not correctly transposed the Framework Decision into their national legislation. For example, three Member States still had to make provision for the recognition of convictions handed down in another Member State for establishing repeat offences.

Second Commission Report of 3 September 2003 based on Article 11 of the Council Framework Decision of 29 May 2000 on increasing protection by criminal penalties and other sanctions against counterfeiting in connection with the introduction of the euro [COM(2003) 532 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

The Council called on the Commission to draw up a second report incorporating additional information that had still to come from the Member States. On the basis of the information received the Commission was able to make a more comprehensive assessment. The conclusion is that, when all the amendments still in the process of being drafted or adopted enter into force, the Framework Decision will have been transposed in full into national law by all the Member States.

Report from the Commission of 13 December 2001 based on Article 11 of the Council's Framework Decision of 29 May 2000 on increasing protection by criminal penalties and other sanctions against counterfeiting in connection with the introduction of the euro [COM(2001) 771 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

The purpose of the report is to enable the Council to evaluate the measures taken by Member States and to allow the European Central Bank to assess the level of criminal-law protection of the euro on the basis of those measures. The Commission notes that some Member States have not transposed in time the obligations imposed on them under the Framework Decision.

Last updated: 15.10.2007
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