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The EU has made substantial progress in terms of protecting its citizens since the early 1990s, often in response to dramatic incidents, such as mafia or other organised crime group murders, big money-laundering scandals, a steep increase in migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings following the 2015 migration crisis, or – more recently – a sharp rise in cybercrime, fraud and counterfeiting during the coronavirus pandemic. Criminal organisations continue to pose big risks to the internal ...

Pericles 2020 is an exchange, assistance and training programme for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting. Hercule III is a programme aimed at supporting action to combat irregularities, fraud and corruption affecting the EU budget. AFIS is a collection of applications for the exchange of anti-fraud information between OLAF and national administrations.

Speculation on Bitcoin, the evolution of money in the digital age, and the underlying blockchain technology are attracting growing interest. In the context of the Eurosystem, this briefing paper analyses the legal nature of privately issued virtual currencies (VCs), the implications of VCs for central bank’s monetary policy and monopoly of note issue, and the risks for the financial system at large. The paper also considers some of the proposals concerning central bank issued virtual currencies. ...

In response to a sharp increase in the number of people trying to migrate to Europe illegally, and as part of the mid-term review of the European Investment Bank's external lending mandate (ELM), the Commission proposed an external investment plan to tackle the root causes of migration from countries neighbouring the European Union, consisting of a European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) and quantitative and qualitative changes to the ELM. These changes entailed two legislative proposals ...

The IA presents the problem of non-cash payment fraud in a coherent and clear manner. The link between the problem (sub-) drivers, specific and general objectives of the proposal is rather straightforward. The objectives could be more specific and time-bound, however, to bring them in line with the SMART criteria. The IA sets out the content of all options in a clear manner. However, the quality of data, analysis and stakeholder consultation leaves an overall poor impression, partly because the combined ...

It is impossible to measure accurately the socio-economic cost of crime. However, the estimates available invariably quote very high figures, which lead to reflection in times of financial crisis and austerity. Numerous organised crime groups are active in the EU, often with cross-border reach and multi-ethnic composition. Some of them, having established a strong position in their countries of origin, go on to engage in illicit markets throughout the EU.

During the past ten years the number of shipments detained due to suspected infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR) has been rising sharply. To prevent counterfeits from entering the EU market, the European Commission (EC) has proposed to revise existing customs regulation by broadening its scope and simplifying procedures for their destruction.

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment accompanying the above proposal, submitted on 5 February 2013. The euro and other currencies continue to be targeted by organised crime groups active in forging money throughout the European Union. The importance and widespread use of the euro area - the second most traded currency in the world, shared by the 17 Member States and the 330 million people of the euro – make it ...

Since 2002, when euro notes and coins were introduced, numerous investigations have revealed the existence of illegal print shops and mints producing fakes, despite EU instruments to combat this. The Lisbon Treaty created new possibilities to fight counterfeiting of the euro through EU legislation. On this basis, the Commission proposed, in February 2013, a Directive using criminal law to protect the euro and other currencies against counterfeiting.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a plurilateral agreement between the EU, its Member States (MS) and ten other countries, including the USA and Japan.