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Customs sees what you don't … and protects you


Approximately 123 000 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 2013; 28 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:

  • Almost 87 000 detention cases registered by Customs (case = interception by Customs of products suspected of violating intellectual property rights).
  • Almost 36 million detained articles with an estimated value of nearly € 800 million.

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

  • More than 131 000 cash declarations submitted to Customs with the value of € 69 billion.
  • Almost 13 000 incorrect cash declarations of findings as a result of customs controls, with the value of € 852 million.

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

  • 4 100 infringements of EU Legislation.
  • 888 000 items and 152 tonnes of specimen confiscated.

Protecting European cultural heritageby checking for smuggled art treasures:

  • 142 infringements of illegal exports of cultural goods.

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);

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;