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Regulating imports of cultural goods

18-10-2018

Currently, with the exception of two specific measures for Iraq and Syria, there is no EU legislation covering the import of cultural goods from third countries entering the EU. Moreover, the national legislation introduced by some Member States in this area is divergent. By ensuring that imports of cultural goods are subject to uniform controls along all EU external borders, the legislative proposal tabled by the Commission in July 2017 aims to prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural ...

Currently, with the exception of two specific measures for Iraq and Syria, there is no EU legislation covering the import of cultural goods from third countries entering the EU. Moreover, the national legislation introduced by some Member States in this area is divergent. By ensuring that imports of cultural goods are subject to uniform controls along all EU external borders, the legislative proposal tabled by the Commission in July 2017 aims to prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural goods illegally removed from a third country, thereby combatting trafficking in cultural goods, depriving terrorists of an income source, and protecting cultural heritage. In the European Parliament, the Committees on International Trade (INTA) and on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) adopted a joint report on the proposed legislation on 27 September 2018. The report, which aims to ensure a balance between curbing the illegal import of cultural goods and avoiding a disproportionate burden for licit art market operators and customs authorities, is scheduled for debate in plenary in October. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Cross-border restitution claims of looted works of art and cultural goods

09-11-2017

Works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts or wars usually travel across several borders when they are sold. The cross-border character of looted art creates legal challenges for restitution claims as they often concern various national jurisdictions, with differing rules, as well as fragmented and insufficiently defined legal requirements in international and European legal instruments. Against this background, this European Added Value Assessment identifies weaknesses in the existing ...

Works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts or wars usually travel across several borders when they are sold. The cross-border character of looted art creates legal challenges for restitution claims as they often concern various national jurisdictions, with differing rules, as well as fragmented and insufficiently defined legal requirements in international and European legal instruments. Against this background, this European Added Value Assessment identifies weaknesses in the existing EU legal system for restitution claims of works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars. Moreover, it outlines potential legislative measures that could be taken at the EU level and that could generate European added value through simplification and harmonisation of the legal system in this area.

Illicit trade in cultural goods

25-07-2017

Illicit trade (or trafficking) in cultural goods is defined by the European Commission as the 'illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property, i.e. items being of importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art or science' and is characterised as ranging 'from theft from cultural heritage institutions or private collections, through looting of archaeological sites to the displacement of artefacts due to war'. The European Commission points out that trafficking ...

Illicit trade (or trafficking) in cultural goods is defined by the European Commission as the 'illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property, i.e. items being of importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art or science' and is characterised as ranging 'from theft from cultural heritage institutions or private collections, through looting of archaeological sites to the displacement of artefacts due to war'. The European Commission points out that trafficking in cultural goods 'fosters terrorism, money laundering, tax evasion, and organised crime' and that 'Europe, where art and culture are highly prized and where many wealthy buyers can be found, is a favourite outlet for trafficking'. Cultural goods have a significant economic value in the market and the trafficking of cultural goods and antiquities is estimated to be worth between US$50 million and US$150 million a year. The European Union does not have common rules on the import of cultural goods. Two EU acts govern only selected areas: Regulation (EU) 116/2009 lays down rules on the export of cultural goods, and Directive 2014/60/EU governs the return of cultural objects taken unlawfully from another EU country. Furthermore, most Member States impose restrictions on imports of culture goods (e.g. requiring declarations or controls) in line with Articles 34 and 35 of Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). On 13 July 2017 the European Commission tabled a proposal for a regulation on the import of cultural goods, which will set out conditions and procedure for the entry of cultural goods into the customs territory of the EU. The Commission is also preparing a study on illicit trade in cultural goods in the EU and the new technologies available to combat it.

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