Combating counterfeiting of the euro (Pericles IV)

Regulation (EU) 2021/840 establishing a programme to protect the euro against counterfeiting for the 2021–2027 period (the ‘Pericles IV’ programme)

It establishes an exchange, assistance and training programme (Pericles IV) to protect the euro against counterfeiting. This runs for the duration of the 2021–2027 multiannual financial framework of the European Union (EU). It sets out:

the programme’s general and specific objectives
the amount, forms and rules of EU funding.

Key Points

The legislation’s general objectives are to:

prevent and combat counterfeiting and related fraud;
preserve the integrity of euro banknotes and coins.

The programme’s specific objectives are to protect euro banknotes and coins against counterfeiting by:

supporting and supplementing national measures;
helping national and EU authorities develop close cooperation and exchange best practices among themselves and with the European Commission and, where appropriate, non-EU countries and international organisations.

The 7-year budget to implement the programme is €6,193,284 (current prices). It may be used to:

provide technical and administrative assistance, such as preparation, monitoring, control, audit, evaluation and corporate information technology systems;
finance grants of up to 75%, and in exceptional cases 90%, of eligible costs of projects proposed by national authorities;
implement procured Commission actions* which supplement the projects proposed by national authorities.

The Commission:

implements the programme in close cooperation with EU Member States, ensuring consistency and avoiding unnecessary duplication of work by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation;
may organise joint activities with partners with relevant expertise such as:
national central banks and the ECB;
national analysis centres and national coin analysis centres;
the European Technical and Scientific Centre and mints;
the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation and Interpol;
national central anti-counterfeiting offices and other specialised agencies, including those in non-EU countries, and private bodies with the requisite technical knowledge.

The following activities are eligible for funding:

various forms of training, information exchange and dissemination, particularly in areas such as best practice, methodology, operating databases, research and scientific assistance, and enquiry and investigation techniques;
technical, scientific and operational assistance, especially for EU teaching resources, multidisciplinary and transnational studies, technical support and cooperation involving at least 2 countries;
purchase of equipment for specialised anti-counterfeiting authorities in non-EU countries.

The programme targets the participation of:

agencies — notably police, customs and financial administrations — detecting and combating counterfeiting;
intelligence services;
national central and commercial banks, mints and other financial institutions;
judicial officers and specialist lawyers;
specialised groups, such as chambers of commerce and industry, and organisations representing small and medium-sized enterprises, retailers and cash-in-transit companies.

The Commission:

adopts work programmes;
presents annual information to the European Parliament, the Council and the ECB on results from the programme — these are based on information from participating countries and beneficiaries and the quantitative and qualitative indicators listed in the annex, such as counterfeit euros detected and illegal workshops dismantled;
provides a final evaluation to the European Parliament, the Council and the ECB within 2 years of the programme’s completion, following an independent mid-term evaluation within 4 years of its start;
may adopt delegated acts.

The legislation requires:

recipients of EU funding to acknowledge their source and provide effective and targeted information on their activities and results to audiences ranging from the media to the public;
the Commission to run information and communication campaigns about the programme.
The legislation repealed Regulation (EU) No 331/2014 from 1 January 2021 (see summary). However, all actions initiated under Regulation (EU) No 331/2014 will continue to apply until their closure.

Application & Context

It has applied since 1 January 2021.

The regulation is designed to strengthen the trust of the public and businesses in the authenticity of euro banknotes and coins. This enhances trust in the EU’s economy and secures the sustainability of public finances.

For more information, see:

About the Pericles IV programme (European Commission).
Procured Commission actions: actions which have been procured with the aim of promoting exchanges of information and staff, technical and scientific assistance and specialised training to protect the EU’s single currency against counterfeiting and related fraud.


Regulation (EU) 2021/840 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2021 establishing an exchange, assistance and training programme for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting for the period 2021–2027 (the ‘Pericles IV’ programme), and repealing Regulation (EU) No 331/2014 (OJ L 186, 27.5.2021, pp. 1–11).


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