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 92,000 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.
Hungarian Customs Authorities
THE CUSTOMS UNION PROTECTS…
|… against the international trafficking of drugs and helps to stop criminal organizations which make money selling drugs.|
... against the smuggling of tobacco and cigarettes - to stop dangerous and/or counterfeited tobacco products from being sold in the EU.
|... against the international trafficking of weapons, helping to dismantle criminal organizations and to combat terrorism
In 2020, EU customs seized more than 4 015 firearms, over 250 000 pieces of ammunitions and more than 175 150 pieces of explosives in the EU.
Counterfeit perfumes seized by Latvian customs
|... the health and safety of citizens as well as the jobs of those who work for legitimate manufacturers by tackling counterfeit goods and piracy.
Face masks without CE markings, declaration of conformity and EU type-certificate seized by Polish customs authorities
... the environment, our health and safetybyenforcing the respective rules (e.g. stopping illegal import of protected wood, refusing entry of contaminated food or potentially dangerous electrical appliances).
In 2020, Customs in the EU detected 23 933 cases of goods presenting a risk for consumers in terms of health (sanitary, phyto-sanitary and veterinary technical standards).
Almost 27 million items were identified as unsafe or uncompliant in terms of product safety.
Archeological assets seized by French customs
|... endangered species by detecting illegal trade in ivory, protected animals, birds and plants and European cultural heritage by checking for smuggled art treasures.
Currencies seized by Bulgarian customs during a control
|... thesociety byfighting 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. In 2020:
… 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.