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Risk Management: Introduction

Imagine you work in customs and you must target and select some containers for examination, to verify that legitimate goods are contained in the container and that there is no financial, health or environmental risk to the European Community and its citizens.

Which containers do you chose and why? What type of controls do you carry out, how quickly and effectively can you carry out the control?

These questions are faced each day by customs services. In order to make the best use of scarce resources and to ensure that there are no unreasonable delays to legitimate traffic, controls must be targeted to where they are to be most effective. This involves Risk Analysis or Risk Management.

"Risk" means the likelihood that something will prevent the application of Community or national measures concerning the customs treatment of goods.

To minimise the occurrence of risks, customs can use risk management as a technique to more effectively set priorities and more efficiently allocate resources necessary for maintaining a proper balance between controls and facilitating legitimate trade.

Risk Management can therefore be defined as ;

  • a technique for the systematic identification and
  • implementation of all the measures necessary to limit the likelihood of risks occurring.
  • International and national strategies can be effectively implemented by collecting data and information, analysing and assessing risk, prescribing action and assessing the level of risk.

Under the framework of the Customs 2002 and continuing under the Customs 2020 programmes, the European Commission in partnership with the Member States of the EU are working together to develop and implement a common Risk Management Framework.

This site presents the results to date and outlines the ongoing implementation of the initiative.