The common risk criteria and standards
The Commission has adopted a set of criteria to be applied in the Member States' risk analysis systems in order to continuously screen electronic advance cargo information for security and safety purposes. The criteria are set out in an implementing act based on the empowerment of Article 50(1) UCC, which is not public for obvious reasons.
The CRC are aimed primarily towards identifying high-risk consignments/goods that could have serious implications for the security and safety of the EU and its citizens and providing equivalent protection throughout the external frontier based on common risk analysis.
While in all other types of movements, the customs office where goods and declaration are presented is responsible for the processing of the declaration and for the risk analysis, customs at the first point of EU entry has a legal obligation to carry out the security and safety risk analysis on all the cargo regardless of the country of EU destination.
Consignments crossing the EU border are thus screened on the basis of those criteria 365 days a year.
Priority Control Areas
Priority Control Areas (PCAs) are the key mechanism in the CRMF allowing the Union to designate specific areas to be treated as a priority for customs control. The identified areas are subjected to reinforced customs controls carried out in a co-ordinated manner based on common risk assessment criteria and real-time exchange of risk information.
Characteristics of Priority Control Areas
Priority areas may relate to any customs procedure, types of goods, traffic routes, modes of transport or economic operators.
The chosen areas are to be subject to increased levels of risk analysis and customs controls for a pre-determined limited period with a start and end date and possibility for interim review.
PCAs will have built-in assessment procedures and flexibility for Member States in order to ensure that the control action to be taken is not disproportionate or unduly disruptive in terms of the effect on trade flows within a Member State or a particular port or frontier point.
The Commission together with the Member States have organised PCAs on counterfeit medicine, drug precursors and the issues of valuation of textiles, smuggling of cigarettes and control of dual-use goods.
The exchange of risk information
The Customs Risk Management System (CRMS) was set up in 2005. It provides a fast and easy-to-use mechanism to exchange risk-related information directly between operational officials and risk analysis centres in the Member States. It covers a broad range of possible risks such as security risks related to explosives, safety risks related to health, the environment or product safety, financial and commercial risks including intellectual property rights and cash controls. This exchange of information has proven particularly useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, when large quantities of medical goods needed to be swiftly checked and cleared for use. CRMS is a key element in the development of a Union risk management framework as it facilitates EU-wide customs intervention for the highest risks at the EU’s external frontier and within its borders.
On 1 January 2022, CRMS was comprehensively reshaped to provide Member States with a state-of-the-art system known as CRMS2. It allows quick and easy real-time exchange of risk-related information between customs administrations, tools to speed up the communication between customs offices in the EU and a unique central database of risk and control related information.
Alerts (such as the risk information form - RIF) can be sent to any customs office instantly to ensure risks identified at one point of the border are adequately addressed at any other point.
CRMS2 connects the customs community from the EU’s 27 Member States as well as Norway and Switzerland. This includes all international ports, airports, major land border posts and all national risk analysis centres. In total, approximately 670 customs offices and national centres and over 2,900 customs officers and risk experts are connected to CRMS2, covering the whole EU external border.
It also includes a detection corner section allowing officers to share risk-related X-ray images as well as cases involving detection dogs. This contributes to the development of a community of expertise which is also promoted and supported by CELBET.
Users of CRMS are risk and control experts from customs administrations and experts from the European Commission on issues related to customs risk management and risk information.
Information contained in CRMS2 is sensitive and for customs use only. It is not accessible to the public. The privacy statement provides explanations about the processing of personal data in CRMS2.
If you are a customs officer and you would like to get access to CRMS2, please contact your national risk management office.