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Customs sees what you don't … and protects you


Approximately 127 000 officials are working for Customs in the EU 24 hours a day and 365 days a year carrying out varied roles.


Customs is in charge of …
(figures for year 2012; 27 Member States; source: DG Taxation and Customs Union)

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

  • More than 90 000 detention cases registered by Customs (case = interception by Customs of products suspected of violating intellectual property rights).
  • Almost 40 million detained articles with an estimated value of nearly € 1 billion.

Ensuring anyone travelling with large amounts of cash (or equivalent) is not laundering money or evading tax:

  • More than 573 000 cash declarations submitted to Customs (June 2007 – December 2012) with the value of € 307 billion.
  • 8 400 incorrect cash declarations of findings as a result of customs controls, with the value of € 225 million.

Protecting endangered species, e.g. checking for illegal trade of ivory, protected animals, birds and plants:

  • 4 332 infringements of EU Legislation.
  • 2.7 million items and 26 000 kg of specimen confiscated.

Protecting European cultural heritage by checking for smuggled art treasures:

  • 463 infringements of illegal exports of cultural goods.

Enforcing rules that protect the environment and our health and safety (e.g. refusing entry of contaminated foodstuffs or potentially dangerous electrical appliances);

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

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