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New Instrument for Modern and Reliable Customs Control Equipment

On 24 June 2021, the Council and the European Parliament signed the regulation establishing the instrument for financial support for customs control equipment. The new instrument aims to ensure that customs authorities at the EU’s external borders are properly equipped so that the customs union can function smoothly.

The customs control equipment instrument will support the purchase, maintenance and upgrade of the equipment needed for efficient and effective customs controls. It can be used to fund items such as x-ray scanners, radiation detectors, automated number plate recognition systems and mobile laboratories for analysis of goods samples.

Supporting the creation of an adequate and equivalent level of results of customs controls at the Union’s external borders allows maximising the benefits of the customs union and thus giving additional support to the customs authorities acting as one to protect the interests of the Union. ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) underlines that a dedicated Union intervention for customs control equipment correcting current imbalances would moreover contribute to the overall cohesion between Member States.

The instrument is a part of the long-term EU budget for 2021-2027 and has a financial envelope of about €1 billion. The equipment purchased under this instrument will mainly be used for customs controls, although it may also be used occasionally for additional purposes, such as to support the national border management authorities in carrying out checks on persons.


The customs union is essential for the proper functioning of the single market, as the goods that enter one member state can then move freely within the Union. The instrument will contribute to keeping citizens safe and secure without impeding legitimate trade with third countries.

Custom duties account for 13% of the total EU budget revenue. Modern and reliable control equipment at the external border will help the customs authorities to protect the financial and economic interests of the Union, ensure the safety and security of citizens, and protect the Union from unfair and illegal trade, such as counterfeiting of goods.

This regulation, together with the ‘Customs’ programme for cooperation in the field of customs, forms a solid basis for the continuous development of the customs union under the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework. The ‘Customs’ programme, adopted in March, supports cooperation between customs authorities across the Union and allows the joint development and operation of pan-European IT systems.

The regulation will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021.

Source: Council of the EU Press Releases

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