Brussels, 14 February 2008
EU Taxation and Customs Commissioner László Kovács said: "The Commission and Member States are determined to combat fraud within the EU. The use of an electronic information exchange system to monitor the movement of excise goods will greatly increase our chances of achieving this goal, by allowing for better targeted and more risk-based controls. Today's proposal also contains important provisions which will ensure that private individuals and businesses in the EU are free to buy and sell goods across borders without unnecessary tax obstacles."
Excise Movement Control System (EMCS) to monitor movements of goods for which no duties have been paid
The Excise Movement Control System (ECMS) was conceived in light of a number of weaknesses identified in the current paper-based system for monitoring the movement of excise goods under suspension of duties (goods for which no duties have yet been paid) within the EU.
Today's proposal would provide a legal framework in which the EMCS could function. Once operational, it will replace the paper-based procedures and will be a crucial tool for tackling fraud. Moreover, it will facilitate trade by reducing related costs, as guarantees for duties will be released much quicker.
The EMCS will introduce electronic processing for declaring, monitoring and discharging movements of excise products under suspension of excise duties within the EU. EMCS will therefore:
First movements under EMCS are expected to start in 2009.
Movements outside excise duty suspension for private and commercial purposes
The Commission's proposal also includes elements to simplify and liberalise the rules on intra-EU movements of products (mainly alcohol) on which excise duty has already been paid in a Member State.
For private individuals, the proposal aims to clarify the existing rules which apply to moving goods from one Member State to another, and to bring them more into line with the internal market principle that products acquired by private individuals for their own use should be taxed in the Member State in which they are bought.
For goods moved for commercial purposes, the Commission proposes that the basic principle whereby excise duty is payable in the Member State of destination is maintained, but that the procedures to be followed in that Member State are simplified and harmonised.
These provisions for the private and commercial movement of excise goods
within the EU were already proposed by the Commission in 2004. However,
following discussions in Council, it was decided that they should be suspended
until the Commission proposed a complete review of the Directive on the general
arrangements for products subject to excise duty, as it has done today.
The text of the proposal is available at this web link:
For further information on the EMCS project, see:
For further information on the legislation on excise products, see:
 Council Directive 92/12/EEC of 25 February 1992