On Wednesday, MEPs adopted the new Customs programme, which will strengthen the EU Customs Union by supporting development and operation of the European electronic customs system.
The 950 million EUR (in current prices) EU Customs programme is vital to protect the Single Market and its citizens from illegal trade, whilst facilitating legitimate business activity. It is the main tool for customs policy financed by the long-term 2021-2027 EU budget and is designed to improve cooperation and build IT capacity that will help to ease trade.
A central element of the programme is the further development and operation of the European electronic systems used by European customs authorities, which are necessary to guarantee EU-wide cooperation and implement customs rules. The development and operation of these systems is essential in order to have high levels of security, for maintenance purposes and to guarantee quality as well as to support modernisation.
The programme will also help to make the EU’s customs system more transparent and provides a legal oversight of EU customs policy, while enabling smooth operational decision-making in the development of IT projects.
"Customs are essential for the proper functioning of the internal market and for ensuring the free movement of goods within it. The Customs programme focuses on supporting the IT capacity building and facilitating trade. The programme will greatly improve the safe operation and fair competition in the internal market. This new regulation will ensure better consumer protection by controlling the quality of products, and also helping to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal," said Rapporteur Maria Grapini (S&D, RO).
The regulation will enter into force on the day of its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. The regulation will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021.
The EU is the world’s largest trading block and accounts for 15% of global trade. The total statistical value of the EU trade flow in 2017 (EU28) was 3.5 trillion EUR – equivalent to more than 10 billion EUR a day. 5.6 million businesses are registered by customs authorities to trade goods in and out of the EU and this number continues to rise. In order to manage this volume of international trade in 2017, almost 332 million customs declarations were handled by more than 2 100 EU customs offices, working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with more than 99% of the declarations processed electronically. Electronic systems are therefore integral to the functioning of the customs union.
The development, maintenance and upgrade of common components – as well as the coordination of electronic customs systems across member states (more than 30 systems, databases and networks) – are financed exclusively through the Customs programme.