The European Union's executive arm, the Commission (EC), announced plans Tuesday for a new law ordering banks to check the authenticity of the euro cash they handle.
"The Commission proposes to make it mandatory for banks and related establishments to ensure the authenticity of euro banknotes and coins before these are put back into circulation," an EC press release said.
"Euro counterfeiting remains a considerable illegal activity... Increased vigilance and increased cooperation between the authorities and industry are necessary to better safeguard the use of euro coins," Anti-Fraud Commissioner Siim Kallas added.
The proposal, which must be approved by EU finance ministers, is intended to give banks the legal obligation to check the authenticity of all the euro coins and notes they handle. Fakes identified in the checks would be removed from circulation.
Such a law could, in theory, pass the loss caused by the discovery of the fake on to the bank which made the find. Hitherto, the cost of discovering a fake has usually fallen on the last person who tried to spend it.
Any such loss would be unlikely to break a modern bank, however. According to EC figures, a total of 164,000 fake euro coins - mainly of the 50-cent and 1- and 2-euro denominations - were discovered and withdrawn from circulation in the eurozone last year.
Over the same period, 69 billion genuine coins were in circulation in the 13 countries which currently use the single currency.
Last Mod: 19 Eylül 2007, 12:13