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Taxation and Customs Union

Consultation on rules on the import of cultural goods


Consultation on rules onthe import of cultural goods

Policy field(s)


Target group(s)

The European Commission seeks the views of all interested parties on the adoption of customs rules governing the import of cultural goods in the territory of the EU. This includes contributions from citizens, companies, NGOs, academics, public authorities, international organisations, etc.

The measures aim to protect cultural heritage, fight illicit trafficking, prevent terrorist factions from acquiring income through cultural goods sales and promote legal trade in cultural goods in the EU and worldwide. It also aims to empower EU customs to seize illegal shipments and increase knowledge and traceability of cultural goods that come through the EU external border. Lastly, it will endeavour to ensure that seized goods are safely stored until they can be returned and will promote international co-operation in safeguarding world heritage.

Period of consultation

The consultation is open from 28.10.2016 to 23.01.2017

Objective of the consultation

The European Commission, responding to numerous calls for action from the other EU institutions and several national governments is considering to adopt measures that will counter the illicit trafficking in cultural goods from third countries more effectively. The Commission Communication on an Action Plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing [COM(2016) 50 final] lists, among other planned actions, the adoption of measures regarding the import of cultural goods from third countries. Even if modern communications technologies have provided the means for such transactions to take place online, the unavoidable stage of physical delivery of the goods places EU customs in an advantaged position to prevent and fight illicit trafficking.

This public consultation aims to gather input from all interested stakeholders to be taken into consideration in the preparation of legislative proposals by the European Commission. The envisaged customs measures could range from a strict requirement to obtain an EU licence before any import, to less strict requirements that would focus mostly on the ability to perform post-clearance audits and gather information on the exact cultural goods that enter the EU market.

The consultation will provide the Commission with the opinions of stakeholders, including the general public, on the effectiveness and possible impact of of the various policy options, in particular with regard to potential administrative burden.

How to submit your contribution

In order to ensure a fair and transparent consultation process, only responses received through our online questionnaire will be taken into account.
The online questionnaire can be accessed here

In the interests of transparency, organisations (including, for example, NGOs, trade associations and commercial enterprises) are invited to provide the public with relevant information about themselves by registering in the Interest Representative Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct. Please refer to the relevant section in the consultation questionnaire for additional information.

Received contributions will be published on the Internet. It is important to read the specific privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with.

View the consultation document

The full consultation questionnaire is also available as a pdf file

However, please be aware that the actual consultations uses the EU Survey template and is dynamic; the options and fields displayed will vary in function of the answers provided to earlier questions and be a subset of what is shown in the pdf.

Reference documents and other, related consultations

Action Plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2253
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2199
UNIDROIT 1995 Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects
UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property
UNESCO 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict

Contact details

responsible service

Security, safety, Trade Facilitation, Rules of origin & International cooperation
Protection of citizens and enforcement of IPR


TAXUD-B1-CULTURALGOODSCONSULTatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (TAXUD-B1-CULTURALGOODSCONSULT[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

postal address

European Commission
Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union
Rue Joseph II, 79
Office J-79 06/215
B-1049 Brussels

View the contributions

The public consultation closed on January 23rd, 2017 and is no longer accessible. The Directorate-general Taxation and Customs Union would like to thank all participants.

The published contributions have been edited in order to respect the wishes of the contributors. This editing consisted of the following:
In all cases: removal of personal contact details (e-mail, telephone number, annual turnover)
- Where the contributor indicated that they did not wish to be identified: removal of their name and - in the case of public authorities - removal of the name of the country from which the contribution was submitted.

Results of consultation

Summary report

Protection of personal data

specific privacy statement