The European Commission/OLAF, the European Central Bank and Europol* jointly organised the 2nd International Conference of the Euro against counterfeiting (2011 Euro Conference).
The Conference was hosted at Europol’s new headquarters in The Hague from 23 to 25 November 2011 with the aim of deepening existing knowledge and exploring new ways of collaboration between law enforcement, judicial and banking authorities. 12 workshops were conducted, oriented to law enforcement, legal, judicial and technical issues relating to the protection of the euro against counterfeiting.
Nearly 10 years after euro coins and banknotes entered into circulation, the euro has established its global presence and is regarded as a stable and secure world currency. Following this positive development the euro has also become attractive for criminal groups involved in counterfeiting, both inside and outside the European Union.
“The importance of the protection of the euro cannot be overestimated. It’s a joint responsibility of the EU Member States and the European Union institutions, and it can only be dealt with effectively if there is effective cooperation at an international level. This is why we are pleased to host this conference.” said Europol’s Deputy Director, Michel Quillé.
170 participants from 44 countries and 8 international organisations attended the Conference. The attending experts and specialists discussed, among other topics, international cooperation, legislation, training and technical issues.
Conclusions reached at the Conference focussed on the successful protection of the euro against counterfeiting as well as the need to maintain vigilance against continuously emerging threats from highly sophisticated criminals. Among the conclusions was also a wish for the harmonisation of penal procedures in and outside the EU, in particular with respect to the possible use of investigative tools such as undercover agents, controlled deliveries and fictitious purchases.
The Director General of OLAF, Mr Giovanni Kessler, underlined the success of the European framework for the protection of the euro and the smooth ongoing cooperation among institutions and national authorities in this field. He also highlighted the fact that the European Commission/OLAF will continue to support the protection of the euro by promoting relevant legislation and supporting adequate training.
In underlining the European Central Bank’s commitment to maintaining the security and integrity of the euro, the Director Banknotes, Mr Ton Roos, called on all participants to ensure the full implementation of the conference conclusions.
The conference was co-financed by Europol, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission, via the Pericles Programme.
* On 12 July 2005, a Council Decision designated Europol as the Central Office of the European Union for combating euro counterfeiting in terms of Articles 12 to 15 of the International Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency (also known as the Geneva Convention from 1929). Within its role and legal framework Europol facilitates the exchange of information, provides criminal and forensic analysis, training, as well as financial and technical support. Europol cooperates closely with the National Central Offices of the European Union Member States, the European Central Bank, the European Commission (OLAF) and ICPO-Interpol to combat threats arising from euro counterfeiting and to enhance and coordinate intelligence, analysis and training in this field of organised crime. Europol has in the past successfully participated in various operations which led to the dismantling of clandestine print shops and seizures of high amounts of counterfeit euro banknotes, and specialists regularly deliver training courses.