ECA: Deficiencies in Customs Control Hamper EU’s Financial Interests
According to the European Court of Auditors (ECA), customs control in the EU still considerably varies, thus hampering the protection of the EU’s financial interests. In its Special Report 04/21 of 30 March 2021, the ECA examined whether the current EU regulatory customs financial risk framework was appropriately designed and has been applied in a uniform and consistent way. The ECA found that the framework was not designed well to ensure a harmonised selection of import declarations for control. In addition, the implementation of the framework by the Member States differs. The main shortcomings of the framework are:
- Poorly defined concept of risk and insufficiently detailed norms;
- Lack of important features, e.g., appropriate data-mining techniques and appropriate methods to counter financial risks resulting from e-commerce;
- Member States have not significantly changed their control selection procedures;
- No uniform way of interpreting risk signals among Member States;
- Ineffective sharing of information on importers;
- Procedures for reducing the number of controls to a feasible level differ, which is why similar risks are not addressed in a consistent way.
The auditors recommend that the Commission enhance the uniform application of customs controls and establish a full-fledged analysis and coordination capacity at the EU level. They stress, however, that progress can only be made with the support of the EU Member States.