Brussels, 8 May 2007
The European Commission welcomes the progress made by the European Council of Ministers to reach a political agreement on the implementation of pan-European electronic customs. After long discussions Member States have agreed on the next steps towards a paper free environment for customs (IP/05/1501). Member States and the Commission favour a step-by-step approach where electronic systems will be implemented in several phases. The compromise agreement now needs to be confirmed by the European Parliament in a second reading which is expected to come in the next months.
"I am very pleased we could reach an agreement in the Council, thanks to the Finnish and German Presidencies' efforts undertaken in the discussions. I now encourage the European Parliament to start a second reading as soon as possible in order to reach rapidly a final decision." said László Kovács, Commissioner responsible for Taxation and Customs. "The commitment made by the Commission and the Member States paves the way to a paper free environment for customs which will facilitate communications between traders and customs and allow for faster and better exchange of information between European customs authorities. A pan-European electronic customs will increase the competitiveness of companies doing business in Europe, reduce compliance costs and improve security at the EU borders."
While all Member States have electronic customs systems, they are, in general, not inter-connected. The proposal for a Decision promoting the European electronic customs initiative contains actions and deadlines for making Member States' electronic customs systems compatible with each other and creating a single, shared computer portal. Electronic declarations would become compulsory, with paper-based declarations becoming the exception.
The major projects making up the electronic customs initiative are the following:
Further information on the electronic customs initiative can be found at:
Description of individual projects:
Electronic customs Decision:
Background on the electronic customs initiative: