The Commission has welcomed the political agreement reached by the European Parliament and EU Member States on preventing the illicit trade in cultural goods, in particular when it contributes to the financing of terrorism.
The agreement is an important step for the Commission’s Action Plan to strengthen the fight against terrorism financing. The rules will ensure that Member States can clamp down on the illicit trade in cultural goods when they are exported to the EU from non-EU countries. Provisionally agreed by the Parliament and Council in Strasbourg last week, the new measures were given a formal green light by EU Permanent Representatives at their meeting in Brussels yesterday. Welcoming the political agreement, Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “The new rules agreed today will help us combat the illicit trade in cultural goods, which is often used to finance terrorists and organised crime. We cannot accept that terrorists steal cultural goods from vulnerable areas in the world and sell them illegally in order to finance terrorist attacks against European citizens. This is a menace that must be stamped out.” Common EU rules will ensure consistent treatment of imports of cultural goods all along the Union’s external borders. This will help prevent illicit cultural goods being brought into the EU and from directly weakening the cultural, historical and archaeological heritage of the country of origin. A press release is online.