The Commission, represented by the Head of Unit ECFIN/R6 presented at the meeting of the European Parliament's LIBE Committee the report from the Commission concerning the implementation and the results of the Pericles programme for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting in 2014 (COM(2015) 507 final).
The still persisting threat of euro counterfeiting underlines the importance of targeted measures at EU level, consisting of a mixture; prevention, repression and training: euro authentication measures by the banks and CIT's, the Directive (2014/62/EU) on the protection of the euro and other currencies against counterfeiting by criminal law and in particular the Pericles 2020 Programme.
The current “Pericles 2020 Programme” for the period 2014-2020 was adopted by the EU legislator on the 11th of March 2014.
The annual budget for 2014 was set at EUR 924 200, of which a total of EUR 878 517 was consumed. The programme funded 10 projects (6 from the MS competent national authorities, 4 from the Commission), consisting of 3 seminars, 3 technical trainings, 2 staff exchanges and 2 studies. 662 experts participated in Pericles (committed) actions in 2014 representing 57 countries. Members from police forces represent 44% of the total participation.
The ''Pericles 2020'' programme implementation in 2014 demonstrates a positive trend towards an increasing differentiation of the professional backgrounds of participants. The Programme has succeeded in maintaining its strong regional cooperation in 2014, with several actions taking place in Latin America, the Mediterranean area and the Balkan region. The implementation also reflects a diversification of the type of actions.
As such, the ''Pericles 2020'' programme continues to be an important and effective tool in the fight against counterfeiting.
A Member of the LIBE Committee addressed the fact that the fight against euro counterfeiting requires intensive cooperation by law enforcement authorities between countries and authorities, and inquired whether the 'Pericles 2020' programme includes an adequate level of participation from MS and third country representatives of the Judiciary and police forces, or whether further encouragement of their participation is needed.
The Commission replied by confirming that the programme has been including more and more judicial experts, in staff exchanges and workshops, but also in conferences such as the 3rd International Conference on the Protection of the Euro against Counterfeiting that took place in Frankfurt. This conference included the participation from several representatives of the judiciary and prosecution services, both from MS as well as third countries such as Colombia. Furthermore, the police is well represented in Pericles actions, as they form the front line in the fight against euro counterfeiting. For example, the Italian Carabinieri (CCAFM) has been involved by organising several staff exchanges in the Balkan and Mediterranean areas. As such, the Pericles programme forms a vital platform for judiciary and police authorities to coordinate and facilitate international cooperation.