On 17 April 2023, the European Commission adopted a Decision which extends for ten Member States the current possibility to temporarily waive customs duties and VAT on the importation from non-EU countries of food, blankets, tents, electric generators and other life-saving equipment destined for Ukrainians affected by the war.
The extension of this measure, requested by ten Member States, will apply retroactively from 1 January 2023 and remains in place until 31 December 2023. The measure will apply in Estonia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The original Decision applied from 24 February 2022 to 31 December 2022.
In the wake of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, around 4 million Ukrainians have been granted temporary protection in Europe. Millions more have had to flee their homes but remained in Ukraine. This is putting a lot of pressure on Member States, which need to provide humanitarian assistance to large numbers of persons fleeing the war, while also supporting internally displaced Ukrainians at risk of hunger and disease.
The duty and VAT waiver applies to goods imported by the following organisations in the Member States concerned:
- State organisations (public bodies and bodies governed by public law including hospitals, governmental organisations, regional governments, communes/towns, etc.)
- Charitable or philanthropic organisations approved by the competent authorities of the Member States.
Current EU legislation provides for tools to be used exceptionally to help victims of disasters, as in the case of the military aggression in Ukraine.
EU customs legislation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009) provides for the possibility to grant duty relief for the benefit of disaster victims. It can be applied to imports by State organisations and approved charitable or philanthropic organisations. To grant relief, a decision from the Commission is required, acting at the request of the Member States concerned.
Similarly, EU VAT law (Council Directive 2009/132/EC) has mirroring provisions as regards exemption from VAT on the final importation of certain goods.
- Publication date
- 17 April 2023
- Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union