The primary legislative projects in the customs sector during the Finnish Presidency are the renewal of customs legislation and the so called e-customs initiative enabling the electronic processing of customs routines, as well as the Customs 2013 action programme which ensures community-level financing for the above projects. These initiative could be considered the largest reforms in the customs sector that the European Community has implemented so far. The proposal for action programme is discussed in the meeting of the Customs Union Working Group of the EC Council in Turku in 19 - 20 July 2006.
The purpose of the Customs 2013 programme is to enhance and harmonise the operations of the Member States' customs administrations so that they could act as one integrated administration. The action programme is designed to safeguard the operations of the internal market, as well as to promote the growth and employment objectives defined in the Lisbon strategy by means of supporting the competitiveness of EU-based enterprises in the global market. The six-year Customs 2013 programme is a continuation of the existing Customs 2007 programme, whose predecessors date back to the early 1990s.
The meeting of the Customs Union Working Group will particularly focus on the allocation of the funds in the Customs 2013 programme to the most important actions and projects. Approximately 80 per cent of the programme's funding framework, totalling EUR 323.8 million, will be earmarked for the maintenance and development of IT systems. The most important project is the E-Customs project, that is, establishing a union-wide, electronic and paper-free trading environment. The purpose is to enable the simultaneous implementation of the reformed customs legislation which is currently under preparation, and the transition to entirely electronic procedures. The objective is to create compatible customs clearance and information exchange systems in all Member States, as well as to enable exchange of data through customs not only between the customs of the Member States but also with other regulation authorities, in compliance with the so called one-window principle. The programme also aims at improved exchange of information and training within the customs administrations, and an increased level of co-operation with countries outside the European Union.
The Customs Union Working Group, governed by the Competitiveness Council, has convened for decades also in the presiding country. Finland's representatives have participated in these meetings from the very beginning of our membership in the European Union. The meeting is hosted by the Customs Unit of the Ministry of Finance's Tax Department and chaired by Ms. Merja Hallivuori, the Ministry's Councellor (Customs) in Brussels. The number of participants arriving in Turku is approximately sixty.
More information: Merja Hallivuori, Counsellor (Customs)email@example.com. +32 2 2878 438mobile: +32 (0)477 79 79 06
Sirkka-Liisa Heino, Director, Customssirkkafirstname.lastname@example.org. 09 160 33153
Minna Takaloeskola, Information Officertel. 09 160 33079mobile: 040 595 5256