Commission: Single Window for Modernisation of EU Customs Union
On 28 October 2020, the Commission launched an important initiative to strengthen cooperation and information exchange in the clearance of goods at the EU borders. The EU Single Window Environment will create a single portal to allow businesses to provide information related to their goods imported into or exported out of the EU only once.
Currently, the formalities required at the EU’s external borders often involve various authorities who are responsible for different policy areas, e.g. health and safety, the environment, agriculture, fisheries, cultural heritage, market surveillance, and product conformity. As a result, businesses have to transmit information to different authorities, each with its own portal and procedures. This is cumbersome and time-consuming for economic operators and makes it more difficult for authorities to act jointly to address risks, including fraud.
The Single Window Environment will streamline the processes for goods clearance. Businesses/traders will be able to upload all items of security and compliance information to a national Single Window portal. The relevant data are then made available to all relevant authorities through the EU digital framework that the Commission will put in place. The Single Window aims to:
- Facilitate trade, by reducing the administrative burden for companies;
- Increase the efficiency of goods clearance, while improving regulatory compliance;
- Promote better digital cooperation and coordination between all national authorities in all Member States involved in the clearance of goods.
The Commission stressed that the way to the Single Window portals is long, but it will technically and financially help the Member States achieve this aim.
The initiative for the EU Single Window Environment represents the first concrete result of the recently adopted Action Plan for the development of the Customs Union – an ambitious project to modernise border controls over the next ten years. A series of measures have been designed to make EU customs smarter, more innovative, and more efficient. The Action Plan follows the announcement by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her political guidelines “to take the Customs Union to the next level.” In order to help customs authorities manage the competing demands of facilitating international trade and protecting the Customs Union, von der Leyen announced plans for an integrated European approach to customs risk management and more effective controls by Member States.