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Taxation and Customs Union

Customs sees what you don't… and protects you

Customs authorities are in the front line in the fight against fraud, terrorism and organised crime, cooperating effectively with administrations and agencies responsible for other relevant policies with border and internal security implications.

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Customs authorities are in the front line in the fight against fraud, terrorism and organised crime, cooperating effectively with administrations and agencies responsible for other relevant policies with border and internal security implications.

Almost 83 000 officials work around the clock at airports, border crossings, sea ports, inland customs offices or customs laboratories to manage the day-to-day operations of the Customs Union and to prevent illegal and/or dangerous goods from entering the EU.

When human senses are not enough to detect certain types of illegal goods, customs officers team up with sniffer dogs that specialise in detecting illegal drugs, suspicious food, explosives, tobacco products or even large amounts of cash.

THE CUSTOMS UNION PROTECTS…

against the international trafficking of drugs and helps to stop criminal organizations which make money selling drugs.

Illicit drugs seized 2021

against the smuggling of tobacco and cigarettes - to stop dangerous and/or counterfeited tobacco products from being sold in the EU.

Tobacco seized 2021
against the international trafficking of weapons, helping to dismantle criminal organizations and to combat terrorism.

In 2021, EU customs seized 6 496 pieces of firearms, over 1.4 million pieces of ammunitions and almost 455 000 pieces of explosives in the EU.

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the health and safety of citizens as well as the jobs of those who work for legitimate manufacturers by tackling counterfeit goods and piracy.
  • On almost 73 000 occasions, products suspected of violating intellectual property rights were intercepted by the Customs in the EU.

... the environment, our health and safety by enforcing the respective rules (e.g. stopping illegal import of protected wood, refusing entry of contaminated food or potentially dangerous electrical appliances).

In 2021, Customs in the EU detected 32 160 cases of goods presenting a risk for consumers in terms of health (sanitary, phyto-sanitary and veterinary technical standards).

... endangered species by detecting illegal trade in ivory, protected animals, birds and plants and European cultural heritage by checking for smuggled art treasures.
  • 2 903 infringements of CITES regulations were detected.
  • 67 cases were detected which did not respect the rules on exports of cultural goods.
the society by fighting against money laundering and the financing of terrorism by also controlling cash flows in the EU.

Travelers entering or leaving the EU are obliged to declare amounts of cash valued at EUR 10,000 or more (or its equivalent in other currencies or bearer negotiable instruments) to customs authorities.

the financial interests of the European Union by ensuring correct and efficient collection of duties, detection, investigation into and prosecution of fraud.

Unpaid Duties 2021

the society by ensuring that exports of sensitive technology which could be used to make nuclear or chemical weapons are legitimate and have the appropriate export licenses.

the society by helping police and immigration services in the fight against human trafficking, drugs, pornography and firearms – and other factors of organized crime and terrorism.