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Counterfeiting

Euro banknotes are very well protected against counterfeiting, owing to a variety of security features, as well as to the efficiency of European and national prosecuting authorities. The circulation of euro banknotes and coins in the 16 euro area countries and in certain third countries requires concerted efforts to protect the currency from counterfeiting.

While euro area countries remain primarily responsible for the protection of the euro, Community legislation, the harmonisation of national legislations and the establishment of international cooperation ensure an overall, effective and uniform protection of the euro against activities that could compromise its integrity.

In the context of international cooperation, the powers to combat counterfeiting are shared between: 

  • the European Commission/European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF);
  • the European Central Bank (ECB);
  • Europol;
  • Eurojust; and
  • Interpol.

The ECB’s Counterfeit Analysis Centre (CAC) , the National Analysis Centres (NACs) for counterfeit banknotes, the Coin National Analysis Centres (CNACs) and OLAF’s European Technical and Scientific Centre (ETSC) cooperate for the analysis, classification and withdrawal from circulation of counterfeit euro banknotes and coins.

The Bank of Greece, by establishing the National Counterfeit Center (NCC), administers the access to the data of the CMS (Counterfeit Monitoring System), facilitates communication regarding CMS-related matters and cooperates with the National Analysis Centre for banknotes and the Coin National Analysis Centre established and operated by the Hellenic Police.

To boost further citizens' confidence in the quality and authenticity of euro banknotes in circulation, the Bank of Greece published circulars stating the following provisions:

  • The Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) owned by the credit institutions in order to facilitate their customers, must be loaded exclusively with banknotes either from the stock made available to them by the Bank of Greece or from cash that has been processed by credit institutions with modern and reliable means of processing.
  • Credit institutions and bureaux de change must withhold any euro banknotes and coins in the event that they know or have sufficient reasons to believe that they are forged or counterfeit and deliver them immediately to the competent police authority in order to be forwarded to the National Euro Analysis Centre of the Hellenic Police.
  • All forged or counterfeit euro banknotes or coins received by the Bank of Greece must be delivered to the competent police authorities in order to be forwarded to the National Euro Analysis Centre of the Hellenic Police for counterfeit analysis and classification.

At the same time, in the context of counterfeit deterrence, the Bank of Greece:

  • continuously provides information to the general public about the security features of euro banknotes and coins by means of public awareness campaigns;
  • organises continuous training sessions for professional cash handlers in recognising and handling counterfeit banknotes.

European Central Bank press release – Biannual information on euro banknote counterfeiting.

 

Legal Framework

  • Council Regulation (EC) No 1338/2001 laying down measures necessary for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting;
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 1338/2001;
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 1339/2001 extending the effects of Regulation (EC) 1338/2001 laying down measures necessary for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting to those Member States which have not adopted the euro as their single currency;
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 45/2009 amending Regulation (EC) 1339/2001; and
  • Bank of Greece Governor's Act 2484/27 December 2001.