The Union Customs Code (UCC) is a key element of the ongoing actions to modernise EU customs. It provides a comprehensive framework for customs rules and procedures in the EU customs territory adapted to modern trade realities and modern communication tools. The Union Customs Code aims at a paperless and fully automated customs union. To achieve that objective, the Commission and the Member States have to upgrade some existing electronic systems and introduce some new ones for the completion of all customs formalities. The UCC entered into force on 1 May 2016, but some transitional arrangements still apply, most notably because not all of the electronic systems to deal with formalities are in place yet.
The deadline for completion of work on the Union Customs Code electronic systems extended to 2025
From 15 May 2019, the new deadline for completion of work on the Union Customs Code electronic systems for customs formalities has been extended from 2020 to 2025.
Background: the 2020 deadline
Several key electronic systems are already in place. However, the 2020 deadline for the completion of all of them was an ambitious one, chosen mainly because it was the end date of the current Multiannual Financial Framework. The work of completing these systems has proved to be enormously complicated, in particular because of the need to interlink the systems and sequence their introduction in a particular order.
Trilogue Negotiations: the need to extend the 2020 deadline
The customs union activities can continue to operate efficiently without all of the systems being in place – the most important thing is not to introduce systems until they work properly. Therefore, the Commission proposed extending the deadline to 2025 for some of the systems, so as to allow efforts to concentrate on having the other systems in place by 2020. The Council added an extension to 2022 for some more systems.
Trilogue’s Outcome: agreement on the 2022 and 2025 deadlines
The Parliament agreed to these extensions in return for annual reporting on progress with the work of completing the systems and oversight by the Court of Auditors. The bulk of the systems will still be completed by 2020 and the majority of work on the systems for which the extension has been obtained will be completed well before 2025.
The text of the amending Regulation can be found here.