BETA


2013/0432(COD) Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions

Progress: Awaiting Council 1st reading position / budgetary conciliation convocation

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead IMCO KALLAS Kaja (icon: ALDE ALDE) METSOLA Roberta (icon: PPE PPE), ROZIÈRE Virginie (icon: S&D S&D), DALTON Daniel (icon: ECR ECR), MAŠTÁLKA Jiří (icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL), REDA Julia (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE), BEGHIN Tiziana (icon: EFDD EFDD)
Former Responsible Committee IMCO
Committee Opinion INTA PROUST Franck (icon: PPE PPE)
Committee Opinion CONT
Committee Opinion ECON
Committee Opinion JURI
Former Committee Opinion INTA David CAMPBELL BANNERMAN (icon: ECR ECR), Marielle de SARNEZ (icon: ALDE ALDE)
Former Committee Opinion CONT
Former Committee Opinion ECON
Former Committee Opinion JURI
Committee Legal Basis Opinion JURI VOSS Axel (icon: PPE PPE)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 59-p4, TFEU 033

Events

2017/09/06
   Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2017/07/05
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted, without a vote, a legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions.

The report was referred back to committee on 25 October 2016 for interinstitutional negotiations.

Parliament adopted the position reached at first reading on 25 October 2016 , following the ordinary legislative procedure.

For details of the position adopted by Parliament, see the summary dated 25 October 2016.

Documents
2016/10/25
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2016/10/25
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted amendments on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions.

The matter was referred back to the committee responsible. The vote on the legislative resolution was postponed to a later date.

The main amendments adopted in plenary are as follows:

Legal basis : Member States considered that Article 114 on the establishment and the functioning of the internal market, and also part of the legal basis of the Union Customs Code, should be added to the legal basis of this Directive.

Subject matter and scope : this Directive is intended to strengthen customs cooperation by approximating national laws on customs sanctions. Given that, at present, the legal traditions of Member States differ greatly, total harmonisation in this area is impossible .

This Directive seeks to:

contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market and to lay down the framework concerning infringements of Union customs legislation, and provides for the imposition of non-criminal sanctions for those infringements by approximating the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in the Member States; cover the obligations of the Member States towards the trading partners of the European Union , as well as the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization.

Member States may provide for the imposition of criminal sanctions , in accordance with national laws and Union law, instead of non-criminal sanctions where the nature and gravity of the infringement in question so requires in order for the sanction imposed to be dissuasive, effective and proportionate.

Parliament noted that the acts or omissions constitute customs infringements where they are committed by negligence or intentionally . It deleted the competent concerning strict liability, which does not require any element of fault, and clarified that the same offence must not be penalised twice.

Trade facilitation : Members proposed that Member States shall work together to set up a cooperation system including all Member States. Within the cooperation system, all Member States shall be notified without delay of investigations into customs infringements and of established infringements in such a way as to facilitate trade, prevent illegal goods from entering the internal market and improve the effectiveness of checks.

Customs infringements : Parliament proposed adding to the list of infringements the acts and omissions such as:

failure of an economic operator to supply, in response to a request by the customs authorities, the requisite documents and information within a reasonable time and to provide all the assistance necessary for the completion of the customs formalities or controls; failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to inform the customs authorities without delay of any factor arising after the taking of a decision by those authorities which influences its continuation or content; failure of the holder of the Union transit procedure to present the goods intact at the customs office of destination within the prescribed time limit; unloading or trans-shipping of goods from the means of transport carrying them without authorisation granted by the customs authorities or in places not designated or approved by those authorities; storage of goods in temporary storage facilities or customs warehouses without authorisation granted by the customs authorities; providing customs authorities with false information or documents; the use of inaccurate or incomplete information or inauthentic, inaccurate or invalid documents by an authorised economic operator in accordance with Article 38 of the Code; processing of goods in a customs warehouse without an authorisation granted by the customs authorities.

Serious and minor infringements : Members listed the factors and the circumstances to be taken into account to determine whether an infringement is minor or if it’s serious:

an infringement is minor if for instance the infringement was committed as a result of negligence; the goods involved are not subject to the prohibitions or restrictions referred to in the Code; the infringement has little or no impact on the amount of customs duties to be paid; the person responsible for the infringement cooperates effectively with the competent authority in the proceedings; an infringement is serious if for instance the infringement was committed with intent; it persisted over a lengthy period of time, reflecting an intention to maintain it; it has a significant impact on the amount of the import or export duties evaded.

Non-criminal sanctions for customs infringements :

Non-criminal sanctions for minor customs infringements : Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are imposed, in addition to recovering the duties evaded, for the customs infringements within the following limits:

where the customs infringement is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to 70 % of the duties evaded; where the customs infringement is not linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to EUR 7 500.

Non-criminal sanctions for serious customs infringements : Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate, dissuasive and non-criminal sanctions are imposed within the following limits:

where the customs infringement is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of between 70% and 140 % of the duties evaded; where the customs infringement is linked not to the duties evaded but to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between 15% and 30% of the value of the goods; where the customs infringement is linked neither to the duties evaded nor to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between EUR 7 500 and EUR 45 000.

Other non-criminal sanctions for serious infringements include the following non-pecuniary sanctions where a serious infringement is committed: (a) permanent or temporary confiscation of the goods; (b) suspension of an authorisation which has been granted.

Review : the amounts of the fines applicable to customs infringements shall be reviewed by the Commission, together with the competent authorities of the Member States, five years from the date of entry into force of this Directive.

In addition, each year the Commission shall publish details of the sanctions imposed by the Member States for the customs infringements.

Settlement : Member States shall ensure the possibility of a settlement as a procedure allowing the competent authorities to enter into an agreement with the person responsible for the infringement in order to settle the matter of a customs infringement as an alternative to the initiation or pursuit of judicial proceedings, in return for acceptance by that person of an immediately enforceable sanction.

Limitation period : Member States should ensure that the limitation period is interrupted by an act relating to investigations or legal proceedings concerning the same customs infringement, or by an act on the part of the person responsible for the infringement. It should be possible for Member States to lay down cases in which that period is suspended. Any proceedings should be time-barred, irrespective of any interruption of the limitation period, after the expiry of a period of eight years, while the limitation period for the enforcement of a sanction should be three years.

Confiscation : if, following the imposition of a sanction, a Member State permanently confiscates such goods, it may opt to destroy, reuse or recycle the goods, as appropriate.

Guidelines and publications : Member States shall ensure that guidelines and publications on how to comply and continue to comply with Union customs legislation are made available to interested parties in an easily accessible, understandable and up-to-date form.

Moreover, Member States shall send to the Commission statistics regarding infringements and showing which sanctions were imposed as a result of those infringements, in order to enable the Commission to assess the application of this Directive.

Documents
2016/10/25
   EP - Matter referred back to the committee responsible
2016/10/24
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2016/07/19
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection adopted the report by Kaja KALLAS (ADLE, EE) on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions.

The committee recommended that the European Parliament’s position adopted at first reading under the ordinary legislative procedure should amend the Commission proposal as follows:

Legal basis : Member States considered that Article 114 on the establishment and the functioning of the internal market, and also part of the legal basis of the Union Customs Code, should be added to the legal basis of this Directive.

Subject matter and scope : the Directive shall provide for the imposition of non-criminal sanctions for those infringements by approximating the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in the Member States.

Moreover, it shall cover the obligations of the Member States towards the trading partners of the European Union, as well as the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization, with a view to establishing a homogeneous and effective internal market while facilitating trade and providing certainty.

Member States may provide for the imposition of criminal sanctions , in accordance with national laws and Union law, instead of non-criminal sanctions where the nature and gravity of the infringement in question so requires in order for the sanction imposed to be dissuasive, effective and proportionate.

The scope of the Directive has been clarified to ensure that only infringements committed by negligence or intentionally constitute infringements, thereby removing the strict liability element which does not require a degree of fault. It also strengthens reference to the legal doctrine that no person should be penalised twice for the same offence.

Trade facilitation : Members proposed that Member States shall work together to set up a cooperation system including all Member States. That system shall aim at: (i) coordinating key performance indicators regarding customs sanctions; (ii) disseminating best practice among customs services; (iii) passing on the experiences of economic operators and creating links between them; (iv) monitoring the way in which customs services perform their activities; (v) performing statistical work on infringements committed by companies from third countries.

Customs infringements : Members proposed adding to the list of infringements the acts and omissions such as:

failure of an economic operator to supply, in response to a request by the customs authorities, the requisite documents and information in an appropriate form and within a reasonable time and to provide all the assistance necessary for the completion of the customs formalities or controls; failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to inform the customs authorities without delay of any factor arising after the taking of a decision by those authorities which influences its continuation or content; failure of the holder of the Union transit procedure to present the goods intact at the customs office of destination within the prescribed time limit; unloading or trans-shipping of goods from the means of transport carrying them without authorisation granted by the customs authorities or in places not designated or approved by those authorities; storage of goods in temporary storage facilities or customs warehouses without authorisation granted by the customs authorities; providing customs authorities with false information or documents; the use of inaccurate or incomplete information or inauthentic, inaccurate or invalid documents by an authorised economic operator in accordance with Article 38 of the Code; processing of goods in a customs warehouse without an authorisation granted by the customs authorities.

Serious and minor infringements : Members listed the factors and the circumstances to be taken into account to determine whether an infringement is minor or if it’s serious.

Non-criminal sanctions for customs infringements:

Non-criminal sanctions for minor customs infringements : Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are imposed, in addition to recovering the duties evaded, for the customs infringements within the following limits:

where the customs infringement is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to 70 % of the duties evaded; where the customs infringement is not linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to EUR 7 500.

Non-criminal sanctions for serious customs infringements : Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate, dissuasive and non-criminal sanctions are imposed within the following limits:

where the customs infringement is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of between 70% and 140 % of the duties evaded; where the customs infringement is linked not to the duties evaded but to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between 15% and 30% of the value of the goods; where the customs infringement is linked neither to the duties evaded nor to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between EUR 7 500 and EUR 45 000.

Other non-criminal sanctions for serious infringements include the following non-pecuniary sanctions where a serious infringement is committed: (a) permanent or temporary confiscation of the goods; (b) suspension of an authorisation which has been granted.

Review : the amounts of the fines applicable to customs infringements shall be reviewed by the Commission, together with the competent authorities of the Member States, five years from the date of entry into force of this Directive.

In addition, each year the Commission shall publish details of the sanctions imposed by the Member States for the customs infringements.

Settlement : Member States shall ensure the possibility of a settlement as a procedure allowing the competent authorities to enter into an agreement with the person responsible for the infringement in order to settle the matter of a customs infringement as an alternative to the initiation or pursuit of judicial proceedings, in return for acceptance by that person of an immediately enforceable sanction.

Limitation period : Member States should ensure that the limitation period is interrupted by an act relating to investigations or legal proceedings concerning the same customs infringement, or by an act on the part of the person responsible for the infringement . It should be possible for Member States to lay down cases in which that period is suspended. Any proceedings should be time-barred, irrespective of any interruption of the limitation period, after the expiry of a period of eight years, while the limitation period for the enforcement of a sanction should be three years.

Guidelines and publications : Member States shall ensure that guidelines and publications on how to comply and continue to comply with Union customs legislation are made available to interested parties in an easily accessible, understandable and up-to-date form.

Moreover, Member States shall send to the Commission statistics regarding infringements and showing which sanctions were imposed as a result of those infringements, in order to enable the Commission to assess the application of this Directive.

Documents
2016/07/14
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2016/06/07
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2016/05/25
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2016/04/25
   EP - Specific opinion
Documents
2016/03/30
   EP - VOSS Axel (PPE) appointed as rapporteur in JURI
2016/03/17
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2016/02/03
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2014/09/03
   EP - PROUST Franck (PPE) appointed as rapporteur in INTA
2014/09/01
   PT_PARLIAMENT - Contribution
Documents
2014/07/24
   LT_PARLIAMENT - Reasoned opinion
Documents
2014/07/17
   EP - KALLAS Kaja (ALDE) appointed as rapporteur in IMCO
2014/05/03
   CZ_SENATE - Contribution
Documents
2014/01/26
   MT_PARLIAMENT - Contribution
Documents
2014/01/13
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2013/12/13
   EC - Document attached to the procedure
2013/12/13
   EC - Document attached to the procedure
2013/12/13
   EC - Document attached to the procedure
2013/12/13
   EC - Legislative proposal published
Details

PURPOSE: to establish a framework for breaches of the Union’s Customs legislation and provide for penalties applicable where they are infringements.

PROPOSED ACT: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council.

ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council.

BACKGROUND: despite the fact that customs legislation is fully harmonised, its enforcement and the lawful imposition of sanctions lie within the ambit of Member States' national law.

A Project Group established by the Commission with 24 Member States, under the Customs 2013 Program analysed the 24 national regimes for customs infringements and related sanctions and reported back to the Commission.

Several substantial differences were noted regarding Member States' customs infringements and sanctions systems.

Within the European Union, the different enforcement of customs legislation makes the effective management of the customs union harder. For economic operators, the differences in the treatment of infringements of Union customs legislation have an impact on the level playing field, thus providing an advantage for those who breach the law in a Member State with lenient legislation for customs sanctions.

A major overhaul of this Code was carried out in Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 (Modernised Customs Code), now recast and repealed by Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the Union Customs Code (UCC).

This harmonised customs legislation needs to be strengthened with common rules regarding its enforcement. The need to take some steps in this direction has already been pointed out by the European Parliament in two reports, one from 2008 and another from 2011 .

IMPACT ASSESSMENT: the impact assessment concludes that the preferred option is a legislative measure that would identify customs obligations to which special protection should be given through the establishment of non-criminal sanctions for any breaches of such obligations.

CONTENT: the proposal sets a common legal framework for the treatment of customs infringements and sanctions . It aims to bridge the gap between different legal regimes through a common platform of rules and thus contribute to an equal treatment between economic operators in the EU, as well as the effective protection of the Union's financial interests and law enforcement in the field of customs.

Specifically, the proposal:

includes a common list of different infringements (strict liability, committed with negligence and committed with intent) that breach the rules of the Union Customs Code; establishes a common scale of effective proportionate and dissuasive sanctions linked to the infringements and sets out relevant circumstances that should be taken into account by the competent authorities from Member States when determining the type and level of sanctions for customs infringements; defines certain cases where behaviour falling within the categories defined as strict liability infringements shall not be considered as such when they are due to an error on the part of the competent customs authorities; deals with the liability of persons playing a relevant role in the commission of customs infringements with intent (including legal persons), stating an equivalent treatment to that of the persons committing the infringement to those inciting, aiding or abetting these infringements; includes some necessary procedural provisions in order to avoid overlap of sanctions for the same facts and persons: the time limit within the competent authorities must initiate the procedure against the person responsible of the infringement; the possibility of suspending the sanctioning proceeding in those cases where criminal proceedings are being carried out with regard to the same facts; territorial competence by defining which Member State is considered competent to deal with the case when the infringement involves more than one Member State.

Documents

Activities

AmendmentsDossier
168 2013/0432(COD)
2016/03/17 IMCO 141 amendments...
source: 578.842
2016/03/22 INTA 27 amendments...
source: 580.426

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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            docs
            • date: 2013-12-13T00:00:00 docs: url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SWD:2013:0513:FIN:EN:PDF title: EUR-Lex title: SWD(2013)0513 type: Document attached to the procedure body: EC
            • date: 2013-12-13T00:00:00 docs: url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SWD:2013:0514:FIN:EN:PDF title: EUR-Lex title: SWD(2013)0514 type: Document attached to the procedure body: EC
            • date: 2013-12-13T00:00:00 docs: url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SWD:2013:0515:FIN:EN:PDF title: EUR-Lex title: SWD(2013)0515 type: Document attached to the procedure body: EC
            • date: 2014-07-24T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/parlements_nationaux/com/2013/0884/LT_PARLIAMENT_AVIS-COM(2013)0884_EN.doc title: PE537.176 type: Reasoned opinion body: LT_PARLIAMENT
            • date: 2016-02-03T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE575.381 title: PE575.381 type: Committee draft report body: EP
            • date: 2016-03-17T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE578.842 title: PE578.842 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
            • date: 2016-04-25T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE580.715&secondRef=02 title: PE580.715 committee: JURI type: Specific opinion body: EP
            • date: 2016-05-25T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE576.978&secondRef=02 title: PE576.978 committee: INTA type: Committee opinion body: EP
            • date: 2016-06-07T00:00:00 docs: title: PE584.164 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
            • date: 2017-09-06T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=27526&j=0&l=en title: SP(2017)538 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
            • date: 2014-05-03T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.connefof.europarl.europa.eu/connefof/app/exp/COM(2013)0884 title: COM(2013)0884 type: Contribution body: CZ_SENATE
            • date: 2014-01-26T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.connefof.europarl.europa.eu/connefof/app/exp/COM(2013)0884 title: COM(2013)0884 type: Contribution body: MT_PARLIAMENT
            • date: 2014-09-01T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.connefof.europarl.europa.eu/connefof/app/exp/COM(2013)0884 title: COM(2013)0884 type: Contribution body: PT_PARLIAMENT
            events
            • date: 2013-12-13T00:00:00 type: Legislative proposal published body: EC docs: url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=EN&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2013&nu_doc=0884 title: EUR-Lex title: COM(2013)0884 summary: PURPOSE: to establish a framework for breaches of the Union’s Customs legislation and provide for penalties applicable where they are infringements. PROPOSED ACT: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council. ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council. BACKGROUND: despite the fact that customs legislation is fully harmonised, its enforcement and the lawful imposition of sanctions lie within the ambit of Member States' national law. A Project Group established by the Commission with 24 Member States, under the Customs 2013 Program analysed the 24 national regimes for customs infringements and related sanctions and reported back to the Commission. Several substantial differences were noted regarding Member States' customs infringements and sanctions systems. Within the European Union, the different enforcement of customs legislation makes the effective management of the customs union harder. For economic operators, the differences in the treatment of infringements of Union customs legislation have an impact on the level playing field, thus providing an advantage for those who breach the law in a Member State with lenient legislation for customs sanctions. A major overhaul of this Code was carried out in Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 (Modernised Customs Code), now recast and repealed by Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the Union Customs Code (UCC). This harmonised customs legislation needs to be strengthened with common rules regarding its enforcement. The need to take some steps in this direction has already been pointed out by the European Parliament in two reports, one from 2008 and another from 2011 . IMPACT ASSESSMENT: the impact assessment concludes that the preferred option is a legislative measure that would identify customs obligations to which special protection should be given through the establishment of non-criminal sanctions for any breaches of such obligations. CONTENT: the proposal sets a common legal framework for the treatment of customs infringements and sanctions . It aims to bridge the gap between different legal regimes through a common platform of rules and thus contribute to an equal treatment between economic operators in the EU, as well as the effective protection of the Union's financial interests and law enforcement in the field of customs. Specifically, the proposal: includes a common list of different infringements (strict liability, committed with negligence and committed with intent) that breach the rules of the Union Customs Code; establishes a common scale of effective proportionate and dissuasive sanctions linked to the infringements and sets out relevant circumstances that should be taken into account by the competent authorities from Member States when determining the type and level of sanctions for customs infringements; defines certain cases where behaviour falling within the categories defined as strict liability infringements shall not be considered as such when they are due to an error on the part of the competent customs authorities; deals with the liability of persons playing a relevant role in the commission of customs infringements with intent (including legal persons), stating an equivalent treatment to that of the persons committing the infringement to those inciting, aiding or abetting these infringements; includes some necessary procedural provisions in order to avoid overlap of sanctions for the same facts and persons: the time limit within the competent authorities must initiate the procedure against the person responsible of the infringement; the possibility of suspending the sanctioning proceeding in those cases where criminal proceedings are being carried out with regard to the same facts; territorial competence by defining which Member State is considered competent to deal with the case when the infringement involves more than one Member State.
            • date: 2014-01-13T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
            • date: 2016-07-14T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
            • date: 2016-07-19T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2016-0239&language=EN title: A8-0239/2016 summary: The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection adopted the report by Kaja KALLAS (ADLE, EE) on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions. The committee recommended that the European Parliament’s position adopted at first reading under the ordinary legislative procedure should amend the Commission proposal as follows: Legal basis : Member States considered that Article 114 on the establishment and the functioning of the internal market, and also part of the legal basis of the Union Customs Code, should be added to the legal basis of this Directive. Subject matter and scope : the Directive shall provide for the imposition of non-criminal sanctions for those infringements by approximating the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in the Member States. Moreover, it shall cover the obligations of the Member States towards the trading partners of the European Union, as well as the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization, with a view to establishing a homogeneous and effective internal market while facilitating trade and providing certainty. Member States may provide for the imposition of criminal sanctions , in accordance with national laws and Union law, instead of non-criminal sanctions where the nature and gravity of the infringement in question so requires in order for the sanction imposed to be dissuasive, effective and proportionate. The scope of the Directive has been clarified to ensure that only infringements committed by negligence or intentionally constitute infringements, thereby removing the strict liability element which does not require a degree of fault. It also strengthens reference to the legal doctrine that no person should be penalised twice for the same offence. Trade facilitation : Members proposed that Member States shall work together to set up a cooperation system including all Member States. That system shall aim at: (i) coordinating key performance indicators regarding customs sanctions; (ii) disseminating best practice among customs services; (iii) passing on the experiences of economic operators and creating links between them; (iv) monitoring the way in which customs services perform their activities; (v) performing statistical work on infringements committed by companies from third countries. Customs infringements : Members proposed adding to the list of infringements the acts and omissions such as: failure of an economic operator to supply, in response to a request by the customs authorities, the requisite documents and information in an appropriate form and within a reasonable time and to provide all the assistance necessary for the completion of the customs formalities or controls; failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to inform the customs authorities without delay of any factor arising after the taking of a decision by those authorities which influences its continuation or content; failure of the holder of the Union transit procedure to present the goods intact at the customs office of destination within the prescribed time limit; unloading or trans-shipping of goods from the means of transport carrying them without authorisation granted by the customs authorities or in places not designated or approved by those authorities; storage of goods in temporary storage facilities or customs warehouses without authorisation granted by the customs authorities; providing customs authorities with false information or documents; the use of inaccurate or incomplete information or inauthentic, inaccurate or invalid documents by an authorised economic operator in accordance with Article 38 of the Code; processing of goods in a customs warehouse without an authorisation granted by the customs authorities. Serious and minor infringements : Members listed the factors and the circumstances to be taken into account to determine whether an infringement is minor or if it’s serious. Non-criminal sanctions for customs infringements: Non-criminal sanctions for minor customs infringements : Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are imposed, in addition to recovering the duties evaded, for the customs infringements within the following limits: where the customs infringement is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to 70 % of the duties evaded; where the customs infringement is not linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to EUR 7 500. Non-criminal sanctions for serious customs infringements : Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate, dissuasive and non-criminal sanctions are imposed within the following limits: where the customs infringement is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of between 70% and 140 % of the duties evaded; where the customs infringement is linked not to the duties evaded but to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between 15% and 30% of the value of the goods; where the customs infringement is linked neither to the duties evaded nor to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between EUR 7 500 and EUR 45 000. Other non-criminal sanctions for serious infringements include the following non-pecuniary sanctions where a serious infringement is committed: (a) permanent or temporary confiscation of the goods; (b) suspension of an authorisation which has been granted. Review : the amounts of the fines applicable to customs infringements shall be reviewed by the Commission, together with the competent authorities of the Member States, five years from the date of entry into force of this Directive. In addition, each year the Commission shall publish details of the sanctions imposed by the Member States for the customs infringements. Settlement : Member States shall ensure the possibility of a settlement as a procedure allowing the competent authorities to enter into an agreement with the person responsible for the infringement in order to settle the matter of a customs infringement as an alternative to the initiation or pursuit of judicial proceedings, in return for acceptance by that person of an immediately enforceable sanction. Limitation period : Member States should ensure that the limitation period is interrupted by an act relating to investigations or legal proceedings concerning the same customs infringement, or by an act on the part of the person responsible for the infringement . It should be possible for Member States to lay down cases in which that period is suspended. Any proceedings should be time-barred, irrespective of any interruption of the limitation period, after the expiry of a period of eight years, while the limitation period for the enforcement of a sanction should be three years. Guidelines and publications : Member States shall ensure that guidelines and publications on how to comply and continue to comply with Union customs legislation are made available to interested parties in an easily accessible, understandable and up-to-date form. Moreover, Member States shall send to the Commission statistics regarding infringements and showing which sanctions were imposed as a result of those infringements, in order to enable the Commission to assess the application of this Directive.
            • date: 2016-10-24T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20161024&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
            • date: 2016-10-25T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=27526&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
            • date: 2016-10-25T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2016-0400 title: T8-0400/2016 summary: The European Parliament adopted amendments on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions. The matter was referred back to the committee responsible. The vote on the legislative resolution was postponed to a later date. The main amendments adopted in plenary are as follows: Legal basis : Member States considered that Article 114 on the establishment and the functioning of the internal market, and also part of the legal basis of the Union Customs Code, should be added to the legal basis of this Directive. Subject matter and scope : this Directive is intended to strengthen customs cooperation by approximating national laws on customs sanctions. Given that, at present, the legal traditions of Member States differ greatly, total harmonisation in this area is impossible . This Directive seeks to: contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market and to lay down the framework concerning infringements of Union customs legislation, and provides for the imposition of non-criminal sanctions for those infringements by approximating the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in the Member States; cover the obligations of the Member States towards the trading partners of the European Union , as well as the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization. Member States may provide for the imposition of criminal sanctions , in accordance with national laws and Union law, instead of non-criminal sanctions where the nature and gravity of the infringement in question so requires in order for the sanction imposed to be dissuasive, effective and proportionate. Parliament noted that the acts or omissions constitute customs infringements where they are committed by negligence or intentionally . It deleted the competent concerning strict liability, which does not require any element of fault, and clarified that the same offence must not be penalised twice. Trade facilitation : Members proposed that Member States shall work together to set up a cooperation system including all Member States. Within the cooperation system, all Member States shall be notified without delay of investigations into customs infringements and of established infringements in such a way as to facilitate trade, prevent illegal goods from entering the internal market and improve the effectiveness of checks. Customs infringements : Parliament proposed adding to the list of infringements the acts and omissions such as: failure of an economic operator to supply, in response to a request by the customs authorities, the requisite documents and information within a reasonable time and to provide all the assistance necessary for the completion of the customs formalities or controls; failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to inform the customs authorities without delay of any factor arising after the taking of a decision by those authorities which influences its continuation or content; failure of the holder of the Union transit procedure to present the goods intact at the customs office of destination within the prescribed time limit; unloading or trans-shipping of goods from the means of transport carrying them without authorisation granted by the customs authorities or in places not designated or approved by those authorities; storage of goods in temporary storage facilities or customs warehouses without authorisation granted by the customs authorities; providing customs authorities with false information or documents; the use of inaccurate or incomplete information or inauthentic, inaccurate or invalid documents by an authorised economic operator in accordance with Article 38 of the Code; processing of goods in a customs warehouse without an authorisation granted by the customs authorities. Serious and minor infringements : Members listed the factors and the circumstances to be taken into account to determine whether an infringement is minor or if it’s serious: an infringement is minor if for instance the infringement was committed as a result of negligence; the goods involved are not subject to the prohibitions or restrictions referred to in the Code; the infringement has little or no impact on the amount of customs duties to be paid; the person responsible for the infringement cooperates effectively with the competent authority in the proceedings; an infringement is serious if for instance the infringement was committed with intent; it persisted over a lengthy period of time, reflecting an intention to maintain it; it has a significant impact on the amount of the import or export duties evaded. Non-criminal sanctions for customs infringements : Non-criminal sanctions for minor customs infringements : Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are imposed, in addition to recovering the duties evaded, for the customs infringements within the following limits: where the customs infringement is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to 70 % of the duties evaded; where the customs infringement is not linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to EUR 7 500. Non-criminal sanctions for serious customs infringements : Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate, dissuasive and non-criminal sanctions are imposed within the following limits: where the customs infringement is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of between 70% and 140 % of the duties evaded; where the customs infringement is linked not to the duties evaded but to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between 15% and 30% of the value of the goods; where the customs infringement is linked neither to the duties evaded nor to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between EUR 7 500 and EUR 45 000. Other non-criminal sanctions for serious infringements include the following non-pecuniary sanctions where a serious infringement is committed: (a) permanent or temporary confiscation of the goods; (b) suspension of an authorisation which has been granted. Review : the amounts of the fines applicable to customs infringements shall be reviewed by the Commission, together with the competent authorities of the Member States, five years from the date of entry into force of this Directive. In addition, each year the Commission shall publish details of the sanctions imposed by the Member States for the customs infringements. Settlement : Member States shall ensure the possibility of a settlement as a procedure allowing the competent authorities to enter into an agreement with the person responsible for the infringement in order to settle the matter of a customs infringement as an alternative to the initiation or pursuit of judicial proceedings, in return for acceptance by that person of an immediately enforceable sanction. Limitation period : Member States should ensure that the limitation period is interrupted by an act relating to investigations or legal proceedings concerning the same customs infringement, or by an act on the part of the person responsible for the infringement. It should be possible for Member States to lay down cases in which that period is suspended. Any proceedings should be time-barred, irrespective of any interruption of the limitation period, after the expiry of a period of eight years, while the limitation period for the enforcement of a sanction should be three years. Confiscation : if, following the imposition of a sanction, a Member State permanently confiscates such goods, it may opt to destroy, reuse or recycle the goods, as appropriate. Guidelines and publications : Member States shall ensure that guidelines and publications on how to comply and continue to comply with Union customs legislation are made available to interested parties in an easily accessible, understandable and up-to-date form. Moreover, Member States shall send to the Commission statistics regarding infringements and showing which sanctions were imposed as a result of those infringements, in order to enable the Commission to assess the application of this Directive.
            • date: 2016-10-25T00:00:00 type: Matter referred back to the committee responsible body: EP
            • date: 2017-07-05T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2017-0300 title: T8-0300/2017 summary: The European Parliament adopted, without a vote, a legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions. The report was referred back to committee on 25 October 2016 for interinstitutional negotiations. Parliament adopted the position reached at first reading on 25 October 2016 , following the ordinary legislative procedure. For details of the position adopted by Parliament, see the summary dated 25 October 2016.
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            • The European Parliament adopted, without a vote, a legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions.

              The report was referred back to committee on 25 October 2016 for interinstitutional negotiations.

              Parliament adopted the position reached at first reading on 25 October 2016, following the ordinary legislative procedure.

              For details of the position adopted by Parliament, see the summary dated 25 October 2016.

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            • The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection adopted the report by Kaja KALLAS (ADLE, EE) on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions.

              The committee recommended that the European Parliament’s position adopted at first reading under the ordinary legislative procedure should amend the Commission proposal as follows:

              Legal basis: Member States considered that Article 114 on the establishment and the functioning of the internal market, and also part of the legal basis of the Union Customs Code, should be added to the legal basis of this Directive.

              Subject matter and scope: the Directive shall provide for the imposition of non-criminal sanctions for those infringements by approximating the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in the Member States.

              Moreover, it shall cover the obligations of the Member States towards the trading partners of the European Union, as well as the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization, with a view to establishing a homogeneous and effective internal market while facilitating trade and providing certainty.

              Member States may provide for the imposition of criminal sanctions, in accordance with national laws and Union law, instead of non-criminal sanctions where the nature and gravity of the infringement in question so requires in order for the sanction imposed to be dissuasive, effective and proportionate.

              The scope of the Directive has been clarified to ensure that only infringements committed by negligence or intentionally constitute infringements, thereby removing the strict liability element which does not require a degree of fault. It also strengthens reference to the legal doctrine that no person should be penalised twice for the same offence.

              Trade facilitation: Members proposed that Member States shall work together to set up a cooperation system including all Member States. That system shall aim at: (i) coordinating key performance indicators regarding customs sanctions; (ii) disseminating best practice among customs services; (iii) passing on the experiences of economic operators and creating links between them; (iv) monitoring the way in which customs services perform their activities; (v) performing statistical work on infringements committed by companies from third countries.

              Customs infringements: Members proposed adding to the list of infringements the acts and omissions such as:

              • failure of an economic operator to supply, in response to a request by the customs authorities, the requisite documents and information in an appropriate form and within a reasonable time and to provide all the assistance necessary for the completion of the customs formalities or controls;
              • failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to inform the customs authorities without delay of any factor arising after the taking of a decision by those authorities which influences its continuation or content;
              • failure of the holder of the Union transit procedure to present the goods intact at the customs office of destination within the prescribed time limit;
              • unloading or trans-shipping of goods from the means of transport carrying them without authorisation granted by the customs authorities or in places not designated or approved by those authorities;
              • storage of goods in temporary storage facilities or customs warehouses without authorisation granted by the customs authorities;
              • providing customs authorities with false information or documents;
              • the use of inaccurate or incomplete information or inauthentic, inaccurate or invalid documents by an authorised economic operator in accordance with Article 38 of the Code;
              • processing of goods in a customs warehouse without an authorisation granted by the customs authorities.

              Serious and minor infringements: Members listed the factors and the circumstances to be taken into account to determine whether an infringement is minor or if it’s serious.

              Non-criminal sanctions for customs infringements:

              Non-criminal sanctions for minor customs infringements: Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are imposed, in addition to recovering the duties evaded, for the customs infringements within the following limits:

              • where the customs infringement is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to 70 % of the duties evaded;
              • where the customs infringement is not linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to EUR 7 500.

              Non-criminal sanctions for serious customs infringements: Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate, dissuasive and non-criminal sanctions are imposed within the following limits:

              • where the customs infringement is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of between 70% and 140 % of the duties evaded; 
              • where the customs infringement is linked not to the duties evaded but to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between 15% and 30% of the value of the goods;
              • where the customs infringement is linked neither to the duties evaded nor to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between EUR 7 500 and EUR 45 000.

              Other non-criminal sanctions for serious infringements include the following non-pecuniary sanctions where a serious infringement is committed: (a) permanent or temporary confiscation of the goods; (b) suspension of an authorisation which has been granted.

              Review: the amounts of the fines applicable to customs infringements shall be reviewed by the Commission, together with the competent authorities of the Member States, five years from the date of entry into force of this Directive.

              In addition, each year the Commission shall publish details of the sanctions imposed by the Member States for the customs infringements.

              Settlement: Member States shall ensure the possibility of a settlement as a procedure allowing the competent authorities to enter into an agreement with the person responsible for the infringement in order to settle the matter of a customs infringement as an alternative to the initiation or pursuit of judicial proceedings, in return for acceptance by that person of an immediately enforceable sanction.

              Limitation period: Member States should ensure that the limitation period is interrupted by an act relating to investigations or legal proceedings concerning the same customs infringement, or by an act on the part of the person responsible for the infringement. It should be possible for Member States to lay down cases in which that period is suspended. Any proceedings should be time-barred, irrespective of any interruption of the limitation period, after the expiry of a period of eight years, while the limitation period for the enforcement of a sanction should be three years.

              Guidelines and publications: Member States shall ensure that guidelines and publications on how to comply and continue to comply with Union customs legislation are made available to interested parties in an easily accessible, understandable and up-to-date form.

              Moreover, Member States shall send to the Commission statistics regarding infringements and showing which sanctions were imposed as a result of those infringements, in order to enable the Commission to assess the application of this Directive.

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            • PURPOSE: to establish a framework for breaches of the Union’s Customs legislation and provide for penalties applicable where they are infringements.

              PROPOSED ACT: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council.

              ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council.

              BACKGROUND: despite the fact that customs legislation is fully harmonised, its enforcement and the lawful imposition of sanctions lie within the ambit of Member States' national law.

              A Project Group established by the Commission with 24 Member States, under the Customs 2013 Program analysed the 24 national regimes for customs infringements and related sanctions and reported back to the Commission.

              Several substantial differences were noted regarding Member States' customs infringements and sanctions systems.

              Within the European Union, the different enforcement of customs legislation makes the effective management of the customs union harder. For economic operators, the differences in the treatment of infringements of Union customs legislation have an impact on the level playing field, thus providing an advantage for those who breach the law in a Member State with lenient legislation for customs sanctions.

              A major overhaul of this Code was carried out in Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 (Modernised Customs Code), now recast and repealed by Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the Union Customs Code (UCC).

              This harmonised customs legislation needs to be strengthened with common rules regarding its enforcement. The need to take some steps in this direction has already been pointed out by the European Parliament in two reports, one from 2008 and another from 2011.

              IMPACT ASSESSMENT: the impact assessment concludes that the preferred option is a legislative measure that would identify customs obligations to which special protection should be given through the establishment of non-criminal sanctions for any breaches of such obligations.

              CONTENT: the proposal sets a common legal framework for the treatment of customs infringements and sanctions. It aims to bridge the gap between different legal regimes through a common platform of rules and thus contribute to an equal treatment between economic operators in the EU, as well as the effective protection of the Union's financial interests and law enforcement in the field of customs.

              Specifically, the proposal:

              • includes a common list of different infringements (strict liability, committed with negligence and committed with intent) that breach the rules of the Union Customs Code;
              • establishes a common scale of effective proportionate and dissuasive sanctions linked to the infringements and sets out relevant circumstances that should be taken into account by the competent authorities from Member States when determining the type and level of sanctions for customs infringements;
              • defines certain cases where behaviour falling within the categories defined as strict liability infringements shall not be considered as such when they are due to an error on the part of the competent customs authorities;
              • deals with the liability of persons playing a relevant role in the commission of customs infringements with intent (including legal persons), stating an equivalent treatment to that of the persons committing the infringement to those inciting, aiding or abetting these infringements;
              • includes some necessary procedural provisions in order to avoid overlap of sanctions for the same facts and persons: the time limit within the competent authorities must initiate the procedure against the person responsible of the infringement; the possibility of suspending the sanctioning proceeding in those cases where criminal proceedings are being carried out with regard to the same facts; territorial competence by defining which Member State is considered competent to deal with the case when the infringement involves more than one Member State.
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