Taxation and Customs Union

International Cooperation

Harmonised implementation of border controls requires a smooth and close cooperation between EU countries, as well as between Customs and other competent authorities.

The European Commission has set up an expert group bringing together experts from the Member States Customs, to work on:

  • protection of health, cultural heritage, the environment and nature; and
  • product safety and compliance controls.

Expert group on the protection of health, cultural heritage, the environment and nature (PARCS Expert Group)

The overarching objective of the PARCS Expert Group is to increase safety and security and to protect citizens and the environment.

Its operational objective is to support the preparation, the coherent application and the effective implementation by customs of Union policy and legislation imposing prohibitions or restrictions which protect the health and life of humans, animals, plants or national treasures.

Chaired by the Commission, the PARCS Expert Group gathers national customs experts in the field of Prohibitions and Restrictions as well as Product Safety.

All Commission services in charge of legislations that trigger border measures are invited to update customs representatives on recent developments in the field of prohibitions and restrictions.

Customs representatives are also consulted by the Commission on issues related to the customs enforcement of prohibition and restriction measures as provided for in non-customs legislation.

The PARCS Expert Group contributes to:

  • raise awareness on the customs responsibilities related to the control of non-fiscal policies;
  • exchange views, experience, knowledge and best practice on the practical implementation of the referred policy areas;
  • develop common approaches for customs checks in these areas;
  • exchange experience, knowledge and best practices on coordination between customs administrations and between customs administrations and competent national authorities responsible for the different policy areas at stake;
  • develop risk criteria for customs controls to be carried out in these areas;
  • provide input for the elaboration of guidance documents to assist the customs administrations in performing checks in non-fiscal areas;
  • immediately address crisis situations together with Member States customs experts where necessary. This can take the form of ad hoc meetings based on own initiatives or resulting from demands by other services or international institutions (such as the World Customs Organisation);
  • provide information at an early stage about upcoming legislative initiatives from different Commission services with an impact on customs;

PARCS Expert Group also examines Product Safety issues in order to:

  • ensure implementation of an agreed approach for Customs towards product safety and compliance controls;
  • discuss and exchange views, experiences, knowledge and best practices in this area;
  • improve coordination between customs administrations and between customs and Market Surveillance Authorities;
  • implement a common risk management approach;
  • rapidly address crisis situations together with MSs customs experts where necessary.