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Special Report 04/2021: Customs controls: insufficient harmonisation hampers EU financial interests

English icpdf.png 5 MB
30/03/2021

Within the EU Customs Union, uniform application of customs controls by Member States is necessary to prevent fraudulent importers from targeting border entry points with a lower level of controls. The Union Customs Code requires the Commission to take the necessary action to ensure Member States apply customs controls uniformly. To achieve this objective, the Commission recently adopted the Financial Risks Criteria and Standards Implementing decision. This is accompanied by guidance endorsed by the Member States. These two documents together make up the customs financial risk framework.

In this audit we assessed whether the above decision and related guidance developed by the Commission for application in the Member States were designed in a way that ensured harmonised selection of import declarations for control, and how Member States were implementing them.

We concluded that implementing the new customs financial risk framework is an important step towards uniform application of controls. However, the framework is not designed well enough to ensure that Member States select controls in a harmonised way. In addition, Member States implement the above decision and guidance in different ways.

We make recommendations to the Commission to enhance the uniform application of customs controls, and develop and implement a fully-fledged analysis and coordination capacity at EU level. Making progress will require the support and, where necessary, the approval of the Member States.

ECA special report pursuant to Article 287(4), second subparagraph, TFEU.