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Protecting the euro against counterfeiting — European Technical and Scientific Centre

Protecting the euro against counterfeiting — European Technical and Scientific Centre



Decision 2005/37/EC establishing the European Technical and Scientific Centre (ETSC) and the coordination of actions to protect euro coins against counterfeiting


  • This decision establishes the ETSC within the European Commission in Brussels.
  • The role of the ETSC is to protect euro coins against counterfeiting. To this end, it analyses and classifies counterfeit euro coins and assists national authorities of European Union countries.


Tasks of the centre


  • analyses and classifies every new type of counterfeit euro coin, in accordance with the regulation on the protection of the euro against counterfeiting;
  • contributes to fulfilling the objectives of the Pericles programme;
  • assists the coin national analysis centres and law enforcement authorities;
  • collaborates with relevant authorities in the analysis of counterfeit euro coins and in the strengthening of protection.

Hosting at the French mint

For the technical and scientific analysis of counterfeit euro coins, the ETSC uses the personnel and premises that the French mint has made available, notably its laboratory. The Commission appoints specialised members of its staff for this purpose. The other expenses relating to the ETSC’s work are charged to the EU’s general budget.

Coordination and information activities

The Commission coordinates the actions of the technical authorities competent for the protection of euro coins, in particular through regular meetings of the Counterfeit Coin Experts Group. Chaired by the Commission, this group allows pooling of the various experiences and expertise of EU countries in relation to counterfeiting of euro coins and coordination of technical actions necessary to protect the euro.

The Economic and Financial Committee, the European Central Bank, the European Police Office and the competent national authorities are regularly kept informed of the centre’s activities and of the situation as regards coin counterfeiting.

Checking authenticity of coins

Regulation (EU) No 1210/2010 introduces common rules and procedures within the euro area for checking the authenticity of euro coins in circulation and for handling and reimbursing those unfit for it.

It states that the ETSC is responsible for defining, among other things, the:

  • technical specifications for the tests of coin-processing machines used for verifying the authenticity of euro coins;
  • training practices for the personnel tasked with checking euro coins;
  • validity period of the reports on the tests;
  • information on the list, published on the Commission’s website, of coin-processing machines that have successfully passed a detection test;
  • guidelines for annual on-the-spot controls of cash handlers’ capacity to authenticate euro coins;
  • rules for rectifying a cash handler’s non-compliance with the regulation.

Decisions 2003/861/EC and 2003/862/EC provide for the establishment by the Commission of the ETSC and its operation in euro area and non-euro area EU countries, respectively.


It has applied since 10 February 2005.


For more information, see:


Commission Decision 2005/37/EC of 29 October 2004 establishing the European Technical and Scientific Centre (ETSC) and providing for coordination of technical actions to protect euro coins against counterfeiting (OJ L 19, 21.1.2005, pp. 73-74)


Regulation (EU) No 1210/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 2010 concerning authentication of euro coins and handling of euro coins unfit for circulation (OJ L 339, 22.12.2010, pp. 1-5)

Council Decision 2003/861/EC of 8 December 2003 concerning analysis and cooperation with regard to counterfeit euro coins (OJ L 325, 12.12.2003, p. 44)

Council Decision 2003/862/EC of 8 December 2003 extending the effects of Decision 2003/861/EC concerning analysis and cooperation with regard to counterfeit euro coins to those Member States which have not adopted the euro as their single currency (OJ L 325, 12.12.2003, p. 45)

last update 04.04.2017