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Taxation and Customs Union

Customs and security: Commission consults on draft implementing provisions concerning new security and safety measures

The Commission has published a preliminary draft of implementing provisions consequent to Regulation 648/2005 that introduces measures to improve security at external borders . These proposals are open to discussion and change before adoption. The Commission therefore invites all interested parties to comment on these proposals, particularly in respect of those aspects where options exist or where variable conditions, such as time limits, will apply. Some of these aspects are indicated by the enclosure of text in square brackets.

The deadline for response to this open consultation is 16th September 2005.

The Commission department responsible for the Customs Code is:

European Commission
Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union
Customs Policy -Legislation
B-1049 Brussels


In its Communication to the Council and the European Parliament amending the Community Customs Code (see COM(2003) 452 of 24/07/2003 and IP/03/1100 ) the European Commission proposed a number of measures designed to meet the need for safety and security in relation to goods crossing international borders, including requirements linked to the US Container Security Initiative (CSI), while, at the same time, remaining in step with the e-customs plans for the future.

These proposals were approved by the European Parliament and the consequent Regulation 648/2005, amending the Community Customs Code, was published in the Official Journal on 4 th May, 2005 (see Official Journal L 117 of 4 May 2005, p. 13 as well as press release IP/05/209 and MEMO/05/60 ) and came into force on 11 th May 2005.

These amendments to the Customs Code provide the framework for

  • replacing paper declarations with electronic declarations, and for the electronic exchange of information between customs offices, between customs administrations and with other competent authorities
  • the rationalization of customs controls, concentrating security controls, anti-terrorism, and safety controls, for health, environment and consumer protection, and admissibility checks at the place of entry into or exit from the territory of the Community, while fiscal and commercial policy related customs controls are carried out inland, close to the trader's premises; and
  • the introduction of pre-arrival and pre-departure declarations and for risk analysis to be carried out using data processing techniques. Member States and the Commission are to establish a co-ordinated and computerised system for the implementation of a common system for risk management, which will establish priority control areas and common criteria for risk analysis and consequent customs controls.

In all of this, the foremost objective is to maintain a proper balance between effective customs controls and the facilitation of legitimate trade. The proposed measures therefore include the development of an Authorised Economic Operator programme through which reliable traders will be able to benefit from trade facilitation on an EU-wide basis and, taking account of security aspects, from reduced customs controls.

The measures will not apply, however, until the necessary implementing provisions have also come into force. These provisions must define

  • the data elements to be included in the pre-arrival and pre-departure declarations, the time limits for the provision of this information and the rules for variations and exceptions to these limits;
  • a framework for the exchange of risk information between Member States;
  • criteria for granting Authorized Economic Operator status, the rules of the authorization procedure and the benefits that this status will attract; and
  • the rules for the implementation and use of the Export Control System (ECS).

These provisions will be determined by the Custom Code Committee and the Commission has undertaken, in a declaration to the European Parliament at the time of the adoption of the regulation, that those within the business sector will closely involved in the decision-making procedure.

The preliminary draft of the implementing provisions that has just been published concerns the above four areas.