Taxation and customs union

Individual Projects

This section gives an overview of the major projects making up the electronic customs initiative, whose more detailed descriptions and schedules are to be found in the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan.

The e-Customs Decision (Decision No 70/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on a paperless environment for customs and trade) dates back from 2008 and most of its projects are now handled in the Union Customs Code.

The main project remaining as being covered by the e-Customs Decision is the Single Window initiative.

The Single Window (SW) is defined as a facility which allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements (cf. UNECE recommendation 33). If information is electronic, then individual data elements should be submitted only once.

The EU Single Window environment for customs is focused on customs formalities and involves stakeholders dealing with cross-border movement of goods.

The objective of the EU Single Window environment for customs is to enable economic operators to electronically lodge, and only once, all the information required by customs and non-customs legislation for EU cross-border movements of goods.

Given the complex nature of this task and the extensive work it entails, a phased approach has been adopted for its implementation. It started with the enabling of automated validation of supporting documents (i.e. certificates and licences) to the customs declaration, using the EU Customs SW IT solution of DG TAXUD. The automated acceptance and verification of certificates by customs already offer benefits to both economic operators and public administrations.

The first pilot project of the EU Customs SW initiative, the EU Single Window – Common Veterinary Entry Document (EU SW-CVED), was initiated in 2012 and entered into production in December 2014. The aim of the EU SW-CVED project is to provide for automated validity checks of the Common Veterinary Entry Document (CVED) and Common Entry Document (CED) certificates submitted with customs declarations. This project consists in interconnecting the Member States Customs Systems and the DG SANTE certificates database TRACES, which holds the CVED and CED certificates, through the DG TAXUD IT solution. The system is operational with seven Member States in production in 2016 (CZ, IE, SI, LV, BG, PL and CY). Successful conformance tests have been performed by LT. Other Member States have expressed interest to participate in the project in the near future.

In an effort to further facilitate and improve the harmonisation and exchange of data between authorities, DG TAXUD is committed to expanding the scope of EU SW-CVED with other digitalised EU certificates and enhanced functionalities, gearing towards the solution to grant relevant national customs authorities standardised access to EU certificates issued by other public authorities.

The business case for the new project, the "EU Customs Single Window: Certificates exchange" project has been approved by the Member States and the Commission in early 2017 to accommodate new certificates' integration and enhancement of the functionalities of the EU SW-CVED phase. The "EU Customs Single Window: Certificates exchange" project is based on the EU SW-CVED pilot project

The enhancement of the functionalities of the EU SW-CVED consist of adding the push back and the quantity management functionality, and the possibility to generate and transmit certificates in a human-readable format (i.e. PDF) for the three certificates currently available in the EU SW-CVED (CVEDA, CVEDP and CED)

Three new certificates will be added to the project: Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) from DG ENV, Certificate of Organic Inspection (COI) from DG AGRI and Common Health Entry Document for Plant Protection (CHED-PP) from DG SANTE, envisaging the same functionalities as for the CVEDA, CVEDP and CED after the above-mentioned enhancement. All three new certificates are (or will be) managed by TRACES (TRACES NT) administered by DG SANTE.

Initially, the project will be limited to connecting the EU Customs SW to TRACES/TRACES NT since the six certificates falling in scope (CVEDA, CVEDP, CED, FLEGT, COI and CHED-PP) are (or will be) managed within TRACES/TRACES NT. However, looking at the perspectives of the EU Customs SW evolution, other certificates hosted on a database different than TRACES/TRACES NT may be added. This will be formalised through an addendum to the Business Case and other project documentation.

In parallel with these activities a Customs 2020 Project Group has been set up in December 2016 to study a possible framework to develop the EU Single Window environment for customs including its legal aspects. This Project Group is expected to tackle the global vision of the EU SW environment for customs beyond the automated acceptance and verification of certificates supporting the customs declaration, the necessary legal basis, as well as the Action Plan to establish such environment.

More detailed information about the milestones and deadlines of the EU Single Window initiative can be found in fiche 1.13 of Annex II of the MASP.