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Parliamentary questions
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10 November 2015
Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-008120/2015

The European Agenda on Security(1) states the need for additional measures in the area of terrorism financing, including measures relating to illicit trade in cultural goods.

The Foreign Affairs Council recognised the seriousness of destruction and looting of cultural heritage in the EU Regional Strategy for Syria.

The EU's restrictive measures against Iraq and Syria prohibit the trade in cultural property illicitly removed from those countries. The Commission is cooperating with Member States' customs authorities to help them in the practical enforcement of these prohibitions. Furthermore, UNSCR 2199 (2015) prohibits cross-border trade in Iraqi and Syrian cultural property and other illegal items removed from the region.

The fight against trafficking of cultural property also involves measures against organised crime.

Europol provides support to ongoing investigations, facilitates the exchange of information about committed offences, stolen and sought-after cultural property. Last year, Europol's European Cybercrime Centre successfully coordinated an operation of 16 European countries to bring down several online ‘dark’ marketplaces. Member States are also encouraged to use Interpol's database on Stolen Works of Arts, and to cooperate with its dedicated unit.

The Commission supports the work of the Financial Action Task Force, which produced a report on ISIL's finances(2).

The EU funds the International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods, a platform designed by the International Council of Museums.

Since 2014 the EU has supported with EUR 2.5 million the Unesco-run Action Plan for Cultural Heritage in Syria.

(1)COM(2015) 185 final.

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