Brussels budget aims to strengthen customs union

8 Jun 18

The European Union plans a budget boost for tax and customs authorities cooperating across the bloc in the battle against fraud.

The Commission has proposed to continue backing the EU-wide customs programme by allocating €950m to it as part of its 2021–2027 budget, and will commit €270m to its Fiscalis tax initiative.

The move comes at a time when public sentiment against tax avoidance runs high, with EU governments needing to recoup more than €50bn a year lost to value added tax fraud.

Pierre Moscovici, commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, said: “Protecting the European Union’s customs territory and implementing our common rules on taxation require strong cooperation between the relevant national authorities.

“Our new customs and Fiscalis programmes will help make that happen.”

The customs programme aims to increase information and data exchange, support customs authorities, devise better risk-management strategies, and create better conditions for growing levels of trade.

The programme has already enabled more efficient collection of EU customs duties, which in 2017 made up almost 16% of the bloc’s overall budget, the Commission said.

The new Fiscalis programme will support cooperation between member states’ tax administrations to help them in the fight against fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance.

It will do this by putting in place a more connected IT system, enabling member states to share good practice, and encouraging joint activity in risk management and audits.

Moscovici said: “At minimal cost, [these programmes] provide a true European added value, offering unprecedented advantages to member states' tax and customs authorities as they work together in the interests of our citizens and businesses."

The bloc’s €1,135bn budget for 2021 to 2027, set out in May, focuses on sound financial management and aspires to do “more for less”.

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