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Brussels, 19 December 2011
Questions and Answers: Commission adoption of Hercule III and Pericles 2020 programmes
What is the main objective of the Hercule III programme?
Hercule III is a financial programme specifically dedicated to fighting fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities affecting the financial interests of the EU. It provides for the collective procurement of specialised equipment and databases to be used by national law enforcement agencies and training for anti-fraud specialists.
The programme covers the period 2014-2020. The overall budget is EUR 110 million or approximately EUR 15 million per year.
What are the programme's operational objectives?
The operational objectives of the programme are:
(1) Improving the prevention and investigation of fraud, smuggling and counterfeiting, especially of cigarettes, by enhancing transnational and multi-disciplinary cooperation;
(2) Increasing the protection of the financial interests of the EU against fraud by facilitating the exchange of information, experiences and best practices, including staff exchanges;
(3) Strengthening the fight against fraud and other illegal activities by providing technical and operational support to national investigations, and in particular to customs and law enforcement authorities;
(4) Enhancing the development of legal and judicial protection of the financial interests against fraud by promoting a comparative legal analysis.
What kind of actions have been financed by the current Hercule programme?
The Hercule programme has produced important results, such as 70 technical assistance projects that financed the purchase of sophisticated technical equipment for law enforcement agencies combating fraud (for example scanners, databases and IT investigative tools), as well as anti-fraud training (including in the fields of computer forensics and the use of specialist equipment) for over 5,300 law enforcement staff. This has led to increased cooperation and information exchange between national authorities. The Hercule III programme will further build on this success.
What is the added value of the Hercule III programme?
The added value of the programme is based on the savings derived from the collective procurement of specialised equipment and databases that are used by law enforcement agencies and specialised training. Three successful cross-border operations took place in 2010 (e.g. operation Sirocco), to which the programme contributed, and more of such are expected in the future.
What is the Pericles 2020 programme?
The Pericles 2020 programme finances exchange, assistance and training initiatives in the area of the protection of the euro against counterfeiting by:
- supporting the organisation of multidisciplinary and transnational workshops, meetings and seminars, targeted placements and exchanges of staff from competent national authorities;
- providing technical, scientific and operational support;
- financing the purchase of equipment to be used by specialised anti-counterfeiting authorities.
The programme covers the period 2014-2020. The overall budget is EUR 7.7 million or approximately EUR 1.1 million per year.
What are the programme's main objectives?
The specific objective of the programme is to protect the euro banknotes and coins against counterfeiting and related fraud, by supporting and supplementing measures undertaken by the Member States. Furthermore, it assists competent national and European authorities in their efforts to develop close and regular cooperation amongst themselves, with the European Commission, third countries and international organisations. The programme aims to promote coordination and standard measures so as to guarantee equivalent levels of protection of the euro against counterfeiting, taking best practice into consideration whilst also respecting differences between Member States.
This notably includes:
(a) raising awareness amongst staff concerned of the need for protection of the euro at European and international level;
(b) supporting the prevention of euro counterfeiting and related fraud through specialised training and assistance in these areas;
(c) promoting convergence of high-level multinational training activities for trainers in ways which are complementary with the activities implemented at national level;
(d) encouraging closer cooperation between the authorities and staff concerned, developing mutual trust and exchanging information, experience and best practice;
(e) supporting the development and broadening knowledge of the legal framework concerning the protection of the euro;
(f) increasing the level of protection of the euro in those countries that have been evaluated as being at risk by supporting the purchase of specific equipment.
What kind of actions have been financed by the current Pericles programme?
The Pericles programme has produced important results, such as 135 projects within and outside the EU. The programme succeeded in establishing closer cooperation in three main sensitive regions for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting: South Eastern and North Eastern Europe and South America. This objective was achieved by co-financing coordinated regional seminars and staff exchanges. In addition, Pericles contributed to the creation of specific investigative learning tools (e.g. anti-counterfeiting manuals) and delivered highly specialised training (such as digital printing). The Pericles 2020 programme will continue to build on these results to further strengthen the protection of the euro against counterfeiting.
What is the added value of the Pericles 2020 programme?
By implementing a specific training strategy agreed with Member States, the programme complements national training by adding a multidisciplinary and international dimension. It promotes the organisation of international training amongst beneficiaries, whilst equipping them with them means to do so. Furthermore, the direct involvement of the most sensitive third countries in specific training actions increases the level of protection of the euro and the quality of cooperation outside the EU.
See also IP/11/1561