Migration and Home Affairs

Security Union: Cracking down on the illegal import of cultural goods used to finance terrorism

The European Commission today puts forward new rules to clamp down on the illegal import and trafficking of cultural goods from outside the EU, often linked to terrorist financing and other criminal activity. Today's proposal marks one of the final steps set out in the Commission's action plan to strengthen the fight against terrorism financing. It will stop this traffic in its tracks by banning the import into the EU of cultural goods exported illegally from their home countries and comes just days after the Hamburg G20 called on countries to tackle terrorist finance, including the looting and smuggling of antiquities.

On the adoption of the proposal, Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans said: "Money is oxygen to terrorist organisations such as Daesh. We are taking action to cut off each of their sources of financing."

Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: "Such activity can wreak serious damage on the cultural heritage of those countries that can least afford to protect their interests. Today's proposal equips customs authorities with the right tools to ensure the EU market is closed for such goods."

At the moment, the EU applies prohibitions on goods from Iraq and Syria but there is no general EU framework for the import of cultural goods. Current rules can be exploited by unscrupulous exporters and importers who can use the profits to fund illegal activities such as terrorism.

For more information:

  • IP/17/1932: Security Union: Cracking down on the illegal import of cultural goods used to finance terrorism
  • MEMO/17/1954: Questions and Answers on the illegal import of cultural goods used to finance terrorism
Thursday, 13 July, 2017