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European Commission - Press release

Budget: Commission requests Portugal to recover overdue customs duties payment

Brussels, 16 June 2011 - The European Commission has decided today to request Portugal to comply with its obligations under EU law to collect and transfer the EU budget a payment linked to custom duties. The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. Should Portugal fail to notify the Commission within two months of measures taken to recover the money in question and pay it into the EU budget, the Commission may decide to refer Portugal to the Court of Justice.

Customs duties, which are charged on imports of goods coming from a non-EU state, are collected by Member States on behalf of the EU and paid to the common EU budget. Member States retain 25 % of the amounts collected to cover collection costs. This traditional resource makes up only a small part of the EU budget's financial resources. In 2011 this will be approximately 12%.

Portugal failed to establish the customs debt on an international company's imports in due time. The Portuguese authorities started the investigation, but missed the three years deadline for claiming customs duties according to the EU Customs law. The Commission considers Portugal financially liable for the €62,000 in question.

Given that Portugal has failed to collect the customs duties and refuses to pay the corresponding amount to the EU budget, the European Commission is taking this action to protect the common EU purse and to ensure fair treatment of all Member States. If a Member State fails to make available all the money due, other Member States may need to pay more as a result.

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/408.

Contact :

Patrizio Fiorilli (+32 2 295 81 32)

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