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 Full text 
Monday, 24 October 2016 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions (debate)

  Kaja Kallas, rapporteur. – Madam President, I would like to thank all the colleagues who spoke on this matter. I agree with Mr Proust and Mr Schwab that we need a clear vision from the Commission: a strategy that includes the single market, the Customs Union and trade policy. In a world where everything is moving to be digital, it is very important that we make the rules very simple. We should also make sure that the authorities act as partners to the micro-businesses and not as obstacles.

On the inter-link between the administrative and criminal sanctions, the Commission wants to have more clarity. However, I point out that in the Commission’s proposal the Member States could do whatever they wanted, so that was not clear either. In my report we do clarify that we need a harmonised approach towards the non-criminal sanctions, and we only leave room for the criminal sanctions if they need to be dissuasive.

We certainly need to support the Commission in the discussions with the Council to ensure that the criminal sanctions are not used for anything else than serious infringements. Regarding the ECR’s comments: they raised the issue that the bureaucracy is a problem. Of course we agree, but don’t you think that having 28 sets of different rules is a bigger problem for the micro-businesses than to have one set of rules? We definitely want to diminish the bureaucracy here.

Finally, I really ask the Council to do some work on this file, as we have addressed very many issues that were Member States’ concerns in this report: for example, the strict liability issue. So the ball is in the Council’s court.

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