The Commission welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament of the Hercule II Programme, which aims to help protect the financial interests of the Community, including the fight against cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting. The Programme will receive €98.5 million over seven years.
Mr Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the fight against fraud considers that "this Programme places the emphasis on cooperation between all those involved. The Commission and the Member States must press ahead, firmly and as one, with their efforts to protect the financial interests of the Community. The fight against fraud cannot be led by the Commission alone, and Hercule II is the Commission's way of offering its partners practical and effective support for developing joint action. I particularly welcome the new focus on cigarette smuggling, which is a serious problem as regards health, consumer protection and public finances. This new direction has been made possible by our cooperation with Philip Morris International ."
Focusing on individual projects and measures
Hercule II provides for three types of action: technical assistance and IT support for national authorities, and organisation of training, conferences and seminars.
Hercule II brings together the operational expenditure (grants and contracts) on general anti-fraud measures. The resources earmarked for the period 2007-13 are therefore fully available for promoting individual measures.
Extending action to cover cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting
The Programme has been extended to accommodate the redoubling of efforts and commitments to combat cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting. This aim fits in with the risk analysis carried out by OLAF together with Member States, which showed that the competent authorities must cooperate more closely to counter the emergence of cigarette counterfeiting in Europe.
Wider geographical scope
Candidate countries may participate as full members of the Programme by entering into a memorandum of understanding. Furthermore, the costs of participation in these measures by representatives of certain third countries and countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy are now treated as eligible expenditure.
Calls for proposals and tender under Hercule II are published on the OLAF website at the following address: http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/programmes/index_en.html . This site also includes the list of recipients, information on assisted measures, and the amounts allocated each year.
See also: Memo/07/64 of 16 February 2007 (FR)
 IP/06/1314 .