The Customs Laboratories European Network, the CLEN (formerly the GCL, Group of European Customs Laboratories), provides the structure for the coordination of the Member States Customs Laboratories. 87 European Customs Laboratories take part in the various activities organised by the CLEN as it moves towards achieving its ambitious goal of an integrated network of European Customs Laboratories that are well-prepared to meet tomorrow's challenges.
Dating back to 1999, the CLEN aims to rationalise, coordinate and optimise the use of human and technical resources among the European Customs Laboratories. One of its most important missions is to anticipate changes in the Customs environment and to ensure that the Customs Laboratories are sufficiently prepared to meet both current and future challenges. Through networking and face-to-face contacts between the Customs Laboratories, the CLEN adds value by making it easier to exchange experience and best practice.
The CLEN carries out coordination through six integrated actions:
- Action 1 - ILIADe - Inter Laboratory Inventory of Analytical Determination
- Action 2 - Inter-comparisons and method validations
- Action 3 - Networking on quality
- Action 4 - Communication and Strategy (including Conferences and seminars)
- Action 5 - Scientific expertise
- Action 6 - European Customs Inventory of Chemical Substances
Various activities are organised by the CLEN under the six themes as it moves towards achieving its ambitious goal of an integrated network of European Customs Laboratories. The activities are carried out on an ad hoc and voluntary basis by the customs laboratories themselves. Third country customs laboratories can participate provided that certain criteria are met.
Meanwhile, greater coordination between European Customs Laboratories has received the backing of Europeans' elected representatives. In their resolution of 19 June 2008 on the fortieth anniversary of the Customs Union, Members of the European Parliament welcomed the initiative to establish a European Customs Laboratories' network, with a view to uniform interpretation of EU technical standards - an important sign of political support as the CLEN takes its work forward.
General organisation of the Customs Laboratories European Network