European Commission Announces new Customs Union Plan

The European Commission has announced a new Customs Union Action Plan that will “make EU customs smarter, more innovative and more efficient over the next four years,” according to a press release published by the Commission.

The Action Plan focuses on four main pillars:

  • Risk management: ensuring that there will be a greater availability of data and data analysis for customs purposes. The plan calls for “intelligent, risk-based supervision of supply chains and for establishing a new analytics hub within the Commission for collecting, analysing and sharing customs data that can inform critical decisions, help customs authorities identify weak points at the EU’s external borders and manage future crises,” the press release reads.
  • Managing e-commerce: there will be obligations on payment service providers. In addition, online sales platforms will be made stronger to help fight customs violations and tax fraud in e-commerce.
  • Promotion of compliance: the plan includes an initiative called the “Single Window” initiative. This is intended to make it easier for businesses the border and customs obligations in a single portal. It will also allow for better collaboration in processing, sharing of information, and better risk management for customs authorities.
  • Customs authorities acting as one: the next EU budget will allow for the purchase and use of the most modern and reliable customs equipment. In addition, a “reflection group” made up of Member States and business representatives will be created to help prepare the EU for any future crises, unanticipated global developments, or new business models.

The EU Customs Union combined with the Commission may have created a plan that could help the EU with struggles at their borders, as well as any uncertainties in the future regarding EU borders and customs.

“The EU Customs Union was one of the first concrete achievements of European integration and for more than five decades it has helped to protect Europeans and keep trade flowing across our borders – which are only as strong as their weakest link. Today, new challenges mean that we need to make our customs rules smarter and ensure they work better for Member States, citizens and legitimate businesses. This calls for improved use of data, better tools and equipment, and more cooperation within the EU and with customs authorities of partner countries. It also requires better foresight, so that EU customs can face the future with confidence. Today, we set out how we will take our Customs Union to the next level,” said Paulo Gentiloni, EU Commissioner for the Economy.

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