PENAL SANCTIONS AGAINST COUNTERFEITING
IN CONNECTION WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF THE EURO
Commission staff working paper Annex to the Commission report based on
Article 11 of the Council's Framework Decision of 29 May 2000 on increasing
protection by criminal penalties and other sanctions against counterfeiting in
connection with the introduction of the euro.
Commission report based on Article 11 of the Council's Framework Decision
of 29 May 2000 on increasing protection by criminal penalties and other
sanctions against counterfeiting in connection with the introduction of the
|Documents originated:||13 December 2001
|Forwarded to the Council:
||14 December 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||24 January 2002|
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 6 February 2002|
|Previous Committee Report:
||None; but see (20925) 14102/99: HC 23-x (1999-2000), paragraph 5 (1 March 2000)
|To be discussed in Council:
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
|Committee's decision:||(Both) Cleared, but further information requested
20.1 In March 2000 the previous Committee cleared the
Framework Decision concerning counterfeiting of the euro, which
was agreed on 29 May 2000. Article 11 of the Decision required
the Member States to take the necessary steps to comply with its
provisions by 29 May 2001, with the exception of Article 5 (a)
concerned with offences committed before 1 January 2002
and related to future banknotes and coins which should
have been complied with by 31 December 2000. The same Article
required the Commission to report to the Council, by 30 June 2001,
on the extent of Member States' implementation.
20.2 The Commission's report is contained in document
(a), and is supplemented by an annex (document (b)), with tables
summarising each Member State's performance in relation to each
Article. In its Introduction, the Commission underlines the fact
that this is the first occasion on which the implementation of
a framework decision has been evaluated. The report identifies
some similarities between directives and framework decisions,
but points out that the Commission has no power to bring an action
before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in respect of the transposition
of a framework decision.
20.3 The Commission states that the report is factual,
concentrating on the key provisions of the framework decision,
and providing information to enable the Council and other institutions,
such as the European Parliament and the European Central Bank,
to assess the extent of compliance, and hence of protection of
the euro. It also aims to provide a factual basis which would
allow a Member State to refer an allegedly incorrect interpretation
or application of the measure by another Member State to the ECJ.
20.4 From both the report and the annex, it appears that
Member States have been very slow in notifying the Commission
about the measures taken to implement the framework Decision.
By 29 May 2001, only two Member States had provided the required
notification, and, as a consequence, the Commission decided to
delay the report.
20.5 Implementation itself has also been slow. The document
reports that only six Member States (including the UK, in part)
met the deadline for Article 5 (a).
20.6 With regard to the UK, the report states that it
has not taken the necessary measures to comply with Articles 8
(2) and 9 (2). These provisions require Member States to establish
criminal liability of legal persons for lack of supervision or
control of a person with a leading position in the legal person,
which makes possible the commission of an offence for the benefit
of the legal person. Legal persons who are held liable in this
way must be punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive
measures or sanctions.
The Government's view
20.7 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the
Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) tells us that his Department is
considering the Commission's view. If necessary, the Government
will rectify the situation as soon as possible, by putting forward
amendments to the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981. He also
tells us that the relevant implementing legislation for Gibraltar
is in an advanced state of preparation.
20.8 Given the amount of time the previous Committee
spent on the draft framework decision, and the general nervousness
about the counterfeiting of the euro, the Commission's findings
strike us as depressing. Although the report is not easy to follow,
the impression is that most Member States have not exerted themselves
to implement this measure.
20.9 The UK can be exempted from this criticism, both
because of its timely compliance with Article 5 (a), and because
of its willingness to make changes if necessary in order to comply
with Articles 8 (2) and 9 (2). We are somewhat disappointed, however,
that the Minister has concentrated on the comments about the UK
in the report, and has not commented at all on the wider picture.
20.10 We clear the documents, but ask the Minister
whether he shares our view that the report reveals an unsatisfactory
situation. As it is the first occasion on which the implementation
of a framework decision has been evaluated, we also ask for his
views on the report itself, and whether it provides a useful model
to be followed in other cases.
accordance with Article 35(7) EU. Back