- Strategic Framework
- Cultural & creative industries
- Culture sector support
- Audiovisual sector support
- International cooperation
- New Narrative for Europe
Trafficking in cultural goods is the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property. This refers to items of for archaeologic, prehistorical, historical, literary, artistic or scientific importance.
It can take different forms, ranging from theft from cultural heritage institutions or private collections, through the looting of archaeological sites to the displacement of artefacts due to war.
Trafficking in cultural goods severely damages the cultural heritage of countries who suffer from it. It can be linked to organised crime, money laundering and terrorism.
International cooperation is one of the most efficient means of protecting cultural property against this threat.
The Commission gathers evidence to support policies against cultural trafficking and cooperates with other international organisations to put effective measures in place.
Pressing issues include:
In February 2016, the Commission's Action Plan
Eurojust (the EU's judicial cooperation unit), Europol (the EU's law enforcement agency) and CEPOL (EU agency for training law enforcement officials) coordinate investigations, criminal prosecutions and the exchange of information between EU countries.
EU-CULTNET is an informal network of law enforcement authorities and experts on cultural goods, set up by the Council in October 2012 for the purpose of preventing and combating crime against cultural goods.
The European Commission cooperates closely with international organisations to strengthen the regulatory environment. These include:
The European Commission provided support for ICOM International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods and for COLOSSEUM - a joint customs operation combating illegal trafficking of cultural goods within the EU and to and from non-EU countries.
The fight against illicit trafficking is considered by the EU in its relations with third countries.
For example, the Euromed Heritage programme worked with UNESCO to build the capacity of national authorities and cultural heritage professionals in Mediterranean partner countries. In January 2014, the European Commission organised a pan-African workshop in Morocco on the protection of cultural goods.
The EU supports the UNESCO action plans for Syria and Mali.
The Commission's work in the sector will continue, primarily through cooperation with international organisations and information gathering operations.