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European patchwork - Customs authorities not acting as one (yet?)

While customs laws are harmonized between the EU Member States, the implementation and enforcement of the rules is clearly not

The European Court of Auditors highlights the impact of the lack of uniformity in controls on the EU's finances in the report that was published on 30 March. 'Import point shopping', whereby fraudsters target border entry points with a lower level of controls, is still a critical hazard. This phenomenon was first described by the ECA in its 2017 report on import procedures.

The European Commission is aware. In the 2020 Action Plan to take the EU Customs Union to the next level, the Commission stressed that the imbalances between Member States in customs controls must be addressed. Ultimately, the customs authorities must be seen to 'act as one'. To achieve that, the investment in the EU's customs program will be firmly stepped up in the coming years.

Despite recent steps in the right direction, the EU rules are not designed well enough to ensure that Member States select imports for control in a uniform way. In fact, they apply the rules very differently, which could allow operators to target EU points of entry with lesser controls.


customs and border protection, customs, international trade