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What is Customs 2007 ?

Introduction to the Customs 2007 programme

Customs 2007 runs from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2007 and will provide a legal and financial base for

  • electronic information exchange systems between national administrations,
  • training seminars for customs officials and experts,
  • the exchanges of officials between national administrations and
  • the basis for an electronic system which will allow business to move towards a paperless customs environment.

Candidate countries for accession to the European Union (EU) are participating in the programme, so as to help both them and Member States prepare for enlargement. The cost of the programme will be shared between the European Community (EC) and the participating countries and, for the EC over the five years, will be &euro133 million. The budget will be increased on enlargement of the European Union to cover the needs of the new Member States.

Customs 2007 is designed to help to facilitate trade and to combat fraud so as to safeguard the financial and security interests of the Community and its citizens. A new factor which is becoming increasingly important is taking into account the changing role of customs with regard to new policies such as health and environmental protection. A particular focus of Customs 2007 will be helping Candidate countries prepare their systems to respond to open market conditions and to implement customs controls on behalf of the EU at the new external frontier.

Customs 2007 will use a range of tools such as the development and maintenance of the Community component of IT systems, exchanges of officials, seminars, workshops and project groups to achieve its objectives. It will continue existing activities, including the development of the common training programme and will provide technical assistance to the applicant countries and to third-country administrations.

Protection of Community interests

Customs have an important role to play to combat fraud and criminal activities. This requires specialist investigators, sound legislation and effective tools. From an EU point of view, the protection of Community interests also requires good co-operation and mechanisms for the exchange of information. The programme can contribute to these objectives

  • by identifying specific areas of difficulty in the legislation and the control mechanisms,
  • by exploring solutions to these difficulties and
  • by improving the co-operation between customs administrations and between them and other authorities. In doing so, the aim is for equivalent high level quality control at every point of the customs territory.

Trade facilitation

The EU has to be a strong economic and trade partner in the world economy. Customs have an important role to play to ensure the competitiveness of the European trade environment. The programme contributes to this broad objective by minimising the burden placed on trade in relation to customs legislation and procedures. In doing so, there should be a balance between trade facilitation and the protection of the EU against illicit traffic.

Equivalent results and infrastructure

Customs in the Community operate under a common legal framework based on common application provisions and a common customs tariff. Whilst the legal framework is well established, its implementation currently depends on individual national administrations with differing national responsibilities who are called upon to act as if they were one when applying Community customs law. This programme will continue the work of Customs 2002 with a view to promoting the equivalent operational capacity of customs administrations.

Enlargement

The prospect of enlargement with new Member States having to execute the same extensive range of tasks, merely serves to emphasise the importance of ensuring not only that customs work effectively in today's Community but that they also prepare for their colleagues to act effectively in an enlarged community. This programme should aim to help candidate countries

  • to improve their ability to perform customs tasks before and after enlargement,
  • by increasing their understanding and use of community customs legislation and procedures and
  • gaining experience from more experienced customs administrations.

Information on customs 2002 are available here.