Legislation on the euro coins

Coins intended for circulation (normal and commemorative coins)

Coins not intended for circulation (collector coins, medals and tokens)

Legislation on reproduction of euro banknotes and coins

Legislation against euro-counterfeiting

To protect the euro in the euro area 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.

Coordination

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 euro area countries in regulations 1338/2001 and 44/2009 are extended to EU countries outside the euro area 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

A new Directive 2014/62/EU entered into force on 22. May 2014. This Directive is meant to boost the protection of the euro against counterfeiting by criminal law measures.
The Directive replaces Framework Decision 2000/383/JHA and supplements and helps implement the 1929 Geneva Convention on the suppression of counterfeiting. The new measures include tougher sanctions for criminals and improved tools for cross-border investigation.
The Directive obliges Member States to make the following conduct punishable:

  • fraudulent making or altering of currency (production of counterfeits)
  • distribution of counterfeit currency
  • making and possessing counterfeiting equipment
  • fraudulent making of notes and coins not yet issued

The Directive also:

  • sets the minimum standard for maximum penalties of imprisonment in Member States: maximum penalty of at least eight years for production and at least five years for distribution of fake notes and coins;
  • ensures that special investigative tools that are used for organised crime cases can be used also in serious cases of counterfeiting, thus improving the quality of cross-border investigations;
  • makes it possible to analyse seized counterfeits earlier during judicial proceedings, which improves detection of counterfeit euros and prevents their circulation;
  • requires Member States to collect data on the number of counterfeiting offences, persons prosecuted and convicted, and transmit these data to the Commission. 

Legislation on the cross-border transport of euro cash

The Commission publishes the CIT information necessary for the running of the CIT business on its website or, according to the type of information, in the Official Journal of the EU.

Monetary Agreements

The European Union has Monetary Agreements with four small-sized European countries – Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican. These countries are not part of the euro-area but are entitled to use the euro as their official currency and to grant legal tender status to euro banknotes and coins through the Monetary Agreements. They can issue euro coins with their own designs on the national sides provided they implement relevant EU legal acts and rules in fields such as: prevention of money laundering, prevention of fraud and counterfeiting, banknotes and coins, banking and financial law. Those rules are listed in the Annexes to the Monetary Agreements and shall be amended by the Commission once a year or more if deemed necessary.

Monetary Agreement between the European Union and the Principality of Andorra

Monetary Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of San Marino

Monetary Agreement between the European Union and the Principality of Monaco

Monetary Agreement between the European Union and the Vatican City State