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Customs sees what you don't … and protects you


More than 119 000 officials are working for Customs in the EU 24 hours a day and 365 days a year carrying out varied roles.

Their objective is to protect society against international trafficking and smuggling, protect consumers against goods presenting a risk for their safety or their health and protect the financial interests of the EU.


Customs is in charge of …
(figures for year 2014; source: DG Taxation and Customs Union and DG Budget)

Protecting society against the international trafficking of drugs and helping to dismantle criminal organizations that engage in such trades and earn illicit profits:

  • 454.2 tonnes of drugs seized in the EU (increase of 10% compared to 2013)

Protecting society against tobacco and cigarette smuggling to stop prohibited products from entering the EU market:

  • 3.2 billion of cigarettes seized in the EU

Protecting society against international trafficking of firearms, helping to dismantle criminal organizations and to combat terrorism:

  • Almost 4 000 weapons and 1 million items of ammunition seized in the EU

Tackling counterfeit goods and piracy  in the interests of health and safety, as well as of the jobs of those who work for legitimate manufacturers:

  • More than 95 000 detention cases registered by Customs (case = interception by Customs of products suspected of violating intellectual property rights)
  • Over 35 million articles detained with an estimated value of the equivalent genuine products of over € 617 million

Enforcing rules that protect the environment and our health and safety (e.g. stopping illegal import of protected wood, refusing entry of contaminated foodstuffs or potentially dangerous electrical appliances)

Protecting endangered species, e.g. checking for illegal trade in ivory, protected animals, birds and plants and protecting European cultural heritage by checking for smuggled art treasures:

  • Almost 4 000 infringements of CITES regulations
  • 118 infringements of rules on exports of cultural goods

Fighting against money laundering and the financing of terrorism by controlling cash flows in the EU:

  • Almost 11 000 cases of non-declared cash or incorrectly completed cash declarations amounting to € 415 million
  • More than 119 000 cash declarations submitted to Customs amounting to € 62 billion

Protecting the financial interests of the European Union by ensuring correct and efficient collection of duties, detection, investigation into and prosecution of fraud:

  • € 950 million in unpaid duties detected (covering only duties that exceed € 10 000)

Ensuring exports of sensitive technology (which could be used to make nuclear or chemical weapons) are legitimate

Helping police and immigration services fight the trafficking of people, drugs, pornography and firearms – all factors of organised crime and terrorism