The Customs programme supports the development and operation of the central IT systems for customs in the Union, and the essential cooperation between customs authorities across the EU.
The programme helps customs administrations to deal with increasing trade flows and emerging trends and technologies, such as e-commerce and blockchain. It provides for better response to security threats and contributes to the financial and economic interests of the European Union and its Member States.
For the period 2021-2027, the programme has a budget of €950 million (current prices).
The European Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme in direct management mode. It is assisted by the Customs Programme Committee composed of delegates from each EU Member State.
All actions under the programme have to be in line with the objectives and priorities outlined in the programme regulation and the resulting Multiannual Work Programme.
What are the goals of the programme?
- To support the Customs Union and customs authorities working together and acting as one
- To protect the financial and economic interests of the Union and its Member States,
- To ensure security and safety within the Union,
- To protect the Union from unfair and illegal trade, while facilitating legitimate business activity.
The Programme supports:
- the preparation and uniform implementation of customs legislation and policy;
- customs cooperation;
- administrative and IT capacity building, including human competency and training, as well as the development and operation of European electronic systems;
- innovation in the area of customs policy.
Who can participate?
The Programme is for the European Union countries but is also open to:
- acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective framework agreements and Association Council decisions, or in similar agreements and in accordance with the specific conditions laid down in agreements between the Union and those countries;
- European Neighbourhood Policy countries, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective framework agreements and Association Council decisions or in similar agreements and in accordance with the specific conditions laid down in agreements between the Union and those countries;
- other third countries, in accordance with the conditions laid down in a specific agreement covering the participation of the third country to any Union programme, provided that the agreement.
The following countries expressed interest to join the Customs programme:
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo*, Moldova, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine**.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
**The accession process is ongoing since October 2021. The Section will be updated regularly and based on the evolution of the accession of the individual countries.
Eligible activities under this programme include:
- the development and operation of the common components of the European electronic systems for customs (EES)***;
- collaborative activities between the administrations and their experts, and between the administrations and the Commission, as well as with other partners – seminars, workshops, project groups, networks, expert teams, study/working visits, etc.;
- EU-level human competency building and training activities – eLearning modules, eBooks, nano-learning courses, educational videos, etc.;
- studies and communication activities;
- innovation activities – proof-of-concepts, pilots, prototyping initiatives and similar activities.
For further information on the funding opportunities please consult the Funding & Tenders Portal.
*** European electronic systems’ means electronic systems necessary for the Customs Union and for the execution of the mission of customs authorities, in particular the electronic systems referred to in Article 16(1) and Articles 278 and 280 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013, Article 8 of Regulation (EU) 2019/880 of the European Parliament and of the Council(17), and in other provisions of Union law governing electronic systems for customs purposes, including international agreements, such as the Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods Under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention)
What is the added value of the programme?
The Customs programme allows the Commission to manage over 50 European IT systems that help to control the import, export and transit of goods and reduce red tape for legitimate traders. For example, the programme finances the functioning of TARIC (the Integrated Tariff of the European Union) which is a multilingual database integrating all measures relating to EU customs tariff, commercial and agricultural legislation. The Customs Decision System enables import and export authorisations to be given to businesses, valid throughout the entire EU, while the Registered Exporters Systems make available up-to-date and comprehensive information on registered exporters that are established in non-EU countries and that have preferential arrangements with the EU. These tools help European customs authorities to better perform their duties at our borders.
The programme funds expert teams of customs officials from different Member States who work together in different fields. This allows EU countries to pool expertise in specific domains or carry out operational activities with the support of online collaboration services, administrative assistance and infrastructure and equipment facilities.
The programme also finances the development of eLearning courses on topics of common interest for customs administrations and business and trade representatives.
Learn more about the achievements of the 2014-2020 Customs programme.
Legal texts other relevant documents/ information
Customs Programme Annual Progress Report on year 2022
Customs Programme Annual Progress Report on year 2021
Expert teams funded by the Customs 2020 programme
Customs programme – Regulation (EU) 2021/444 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2021 establishing the Customs programme for cooperation in the field of customs
Customs programme - Staff Working Document, Impact Assessment SWD (2018) 321
Customs programme - Staff Working Document, summary of impact assessment SWD(2018) 322