More than 70,000 counterfeit products have been intercepted during a joint customs operation (JCO) in Europe codenamed ERMIS.
JCO ERMIS was carried out by the Greek Customs Administration and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), and also involved customs experts from the EU as well as Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. The operation took place in March and focused on identifying fake goods shipped through postal and courier traffic.
EU customs authorities intensified control operations and exchanged intelligence on parcels coming in from third countries during the operation.
The seized goods varied from mobile phones, sunglasses and small vehicle parts, to medicines and pharmaceutical products. An additional 210 seizures were made but in these cases the goods had to be released by customs due to lack of cooperation from rights-holders. The majority of the goods were found to originate from the Far East.
Algirdas Šemeta, the commissioner responsible for Customs and Anti-Fraud, said: "The ERMIS Operation shows, once again, the major added-value of working together to combat common risks.
"Strong cooperation, efficient information exchange and effective targeted actions, involving all enforcement authorities, are essential to tackle those who smuggle fakes," he added.
JCO ERMIS follows up on previous JCOs organised by OLAF which help generate increased intelligence, stronger cross-border cooperation and more accurate targeting of smuggling risk areas.
Furthermore, through the high number of items seized, the JCO once again helped avoid losses to EU and member state budgets in the form of evaded customs duties and taxes.