Parliament approved on Tuesday additional funds to help member states purchase, maintain and replace necessary customs control equipment.
The EUR 1 billion (in current prices) instrument on customs control equipment will support national customs authorities. Financed under the long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, customs authorities can use this new instrument to apply for funding for state-of-the-art customs equipment such as new scanners, automated licence plate detection systems, and mobile laboratories for sample analysis.
The equipment financed under this instrument will be used primarily for customs controls, but it can also support the national border management authorities to investigate and carry out checks on people, as long as equipment sharing is not systematic.
The new instrument is part of the Integrated Border Management Fund to ensure better control at the EU’s external borders. The European Commission will assess what specific equipment the member states need based on the Customs programme actions (under the previous as well as 2021-2027 long-term EU budget).
The instrument on customs control equipment will enter into force on the day of its publication in the Official Journal of the EU and apply retroactively from 1 January 2021.
Once cleared by customs authorities in one member state, goods can move freely within the EU’s Single Market, on the basis that all member states apply the same revenue and protection rules at external borders. The EU's customs administrations need to work together closely to facilitate trade and protect the health and safety of all EU citizens. Customs controls protect consumers against goods that present a risk to health and safety. In 2019, customs controls at the EU's external borders seized counterfeit and potentially dangerous goods with a retail value of over €760 million. In addition to checking goods entering the EU, customs controls also play an important role in other areas such as in the fight against terrorism, by checking for the illegal trafficking of firearms, and in preventing illegal trade in works of art and cultural goods.