Legislation against euro-counterfeiting

To protect the euro in the eurozone and beyond, EU laws aim to ensure proper coordination of anti-counterfeiting measures between national authorities and adequate penalties for counterfeiters under national criminal law.


EU legislation contains basic provisions on the gathering and analysis of technical and statistical data relating to counterfeit notes and coins and on cooperation between national authorities in EU countries, the Commission, the European Central Bank, non-EU countries and international organisations.
(Rules for eurozone countries in regulations 1338/2001 and 44/2009 are extended to EU countries outside the eurozone by regulations 1339/2001 and 45/2009.)

Key provisions

  • Analysis and identification – authorities in EU countries must send counterfeit notes and coins to their national analysis centres for analysis and identification (regulations 1338/2001 & 1339/2001).
  • Withdrawal – banks and other credit institutions must withdraw from circulation all euro notes and coins which they suspect to be counterfeit and hand them over to the relevant national authorities (regulations 1338/2001 & 1339/2001).
  • Authenticity checks – banks and other credit institutions must check the authenticity of all euro notes and coins that they intend to put back into circulation (Decision ECB/2010/14 and Regulation (EU) No 1210/2010).


Criminal-law penalties

The 2000 Framework Decision on penalties for counterfeiting requires EU countries to impose effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties,  including custodial sentences that may lead to extradition, for:

  • fraudulently making or altering currency
  • exporting and transporting counterfeit currency
  • making and possessing counterfeiting equipment

The Framework Decision supplements and helps implement the 1929 Geneva Convention on the suppression of counterfeiting.

Framework decision 2000/383/JHA on penalties for counterfeiting pdf and Amending framework decision 2001/888/JHA pdf

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of the euro and other currencies against counterfeiting by criminal law, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2000/383/JHA pdf - 116 KB [116 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr) :

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Last update: 11/03/2014