Establishing the 'Customs' programme for cooperation in the field of customs

In “An Economy that Works for People”

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The European Commission's proposal for a Regulation establishing the 'Customs' programme for cooperation in the field of customs' was tabled on 8 June 2018 and forms part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the years 2021-2027.

The programme proposed by the Commission replaces ‘Customs 2020’ that covered the period up to 31 December 2020. This provided the funds to support actions in view of modernising and improving the functioning of the customs union and cooperation among customs authorities of the participating countries. The proposal of the Commission institutes a new Customs programme for the next MFF period 2021-2027. The proposal therefore repeals Regulation (EU) No 1294/2013 with effect from 1 January 2021, but transitional provisions ensures the continued application of that regulation to allow modification of actions undertaken under the customs 2020 programme until their closure.

Under article 3, the main programme objectives remain similar to those of the previous programme. The specific objectives (article 3) instead are to support the preparation and uniform implementation of customs legislation and policy as well as to promote customs cooperation and administrative capacity building, including human competency and the development and operation of European electronic systems.

Customs cooperation will operate by building capacity in the following two areas:

  • First, human networking and competency building actions, including the exchange of good practices and operational knowledge.
  • Second, information technology (IT) capacity building actions will fund new IT infrastructure and systems.

An important change from the previous programme is that the programme actions will now also be open to third countries, which are not European neighbourhood countries or acceding or candidates’ countries. The programme has a financial envelope of € 843 million (in 2018 prices) for the period 2021–2027, up from € 536 million (in 2018 prices) in the MFF 2014-2020.

The proposal was subject to the ordinary legislative procedure, requiring support in both Council and the European Parliament.

In the European Parliament, the proposal was examined by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO). The appointed rapporteur is Maria Grapini (S&D, Romania).

A provisional agreement between Parliament and Council was reached in December 2020. The final text of the Council’s first reading position was adopted in March 2021. The European Parliament declared the Council's position  approved without amendments in March 2021. The final act was signed in March 2021 and was published in the Official Journal on 15 March 2021. The Regulation entered into force on the day of publication and it is applied from 1 January 2021.

Author: Pieter Baert, Members' Research Service,

As of 20/10/2023.