What is Customs 2020?
Customs 2020 is an EU cooperation programme. It enables national customs administrations to create and exchange information and expertise.
It allows joint developing and operating major trans-European IT systems together, as well as establishing networks by bringing together national officials from across Europe.
Customs 2020 has a budget of € 522.9 million. The current programme covers the period 2014-2020.
Infographic: The Customs 2020 programme
Objectives of the programme
- General objective
To support the functioning and modernisation of the customs union in order to strengthen the internal market by means of cooperation between participating countries, their customs authorities and their officials. The general objective shall be pursued through the achievement of specific objectives.
- Specific objectives
- Support customs authorities in protecting the financial and economic interests of the Union and of the Member States, including the fight against fraud and the protection of intellectual property rights
- increase safety and security, protect citizens and the environment
- improve the administrative capacity of the customs authorities and strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses.
To achieve the specific objectives, the programme allows for:
- (a) computerisation;
- (b) ensuring modern and harmonised approaches to customs procedures and controls;
- (c) facilitating legitimate trade;
- (d) reducing compliance costs and administrative burden; and
- (e) enhancing the functioning of the customs authorities.
- Operational objectives
- support the preparation, coherent application and effective implementation of Union law and policy in the field of customs;
- develop, improve, operate and support the European Information Systems for customs;
- identify, develop, share and apply best working practices and administrative procedures, in particular further to benchmarking activities;
- reinforce the skills and competences of customs officials;
- improve cooperation between customs authorities and international organisations, third countries, other governmental authorities, including Union and national market surveillance authorities, as well as economic operators and organisations representing economic operators.
The programme is objective-driven. This means that all actions under the programme have to refer to the objectives and priorities outlined in the programme regulation and the resulting Annual Work Programme. This Annual Work Programme is a strategic and forward looking plan, drafted and adopted by the Commission with input from the participating countries.
- (a) Joint actions (bringing together officials from participating countries):
- seminars and workshops;
- project groups, generally composed of a limited number of countries, operational during a limited period of time to pursue a predefined objective with a precisely defined outcome, including coordination or benchmarking;
- working visits organised by the participating countries or another country to enable officials to acquire or increase their expertise or knowledge in customs matters; for working visits organised within third countries only travel and subsistence (accommodation and daily allowance) costs are eligible under the Programme;
- monitoring activities carried out by joint teams made up of Commission officials and officials of the participating countries to analyse customs practices, identify any difficulties in implementing rules and, where appropriate, make suggestions for the adaptation of Union rules and working methods;
- expert teams, to enable structured operational cooperation between the programme participating countries on a long-term basis gathering expertise around a geographical or topical matter
- customs administration capacity building and supporting actions;
- jointly developed communication actions;
- any other activity in support of the general, specific and operational objectives mentioned before;
- (b) IT capacity building: development, maintenance, operation and quality control of Union components of the European Information Systems and new European Information Systems established under Union law;
- (c) human competency building: common training actions to support the necessary professional skills and knowledge relating to customs.
Implementation of the programme
The European Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme.
It is assisted by the Customs 2020 Committee, composed of delegates from each EU Member State.
Who can participate?
All actions are open to officials working in customs administrations from:
- the EU Member States
- Candidate and potential candidate countries that joined the programme
Candidate and potential candidate countries participating in Customs 2020
Start year of participation
Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Republic of North Macedonia|
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
How to participate?
If you are a Customs official interested in organising or participating in programme activities, you should get in touch with your national programme coordinator.
This person can advise on the eligibility of your idea for funding and can inform you about any forthcoming initiatives being organised in other participating countries.
You can also contact the European Commission: TAXUD-Customs2020@ec.europa.eu.
Background information and related links
Expert teams funded by the Customs 2020 programme
Legal basis and reference documents