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European Union Eastern Partnership programme in synergy with the WCO

24 octubre 2011

European Union Eastern Partnership programme in synergy with the WCO

Krakow, 19- 21 October 2011


Upon the invitation of Jacek Kapica, Director General of Polish Customs, and of the European Union (EU), Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya participated in the “Towards better cooperation” Eastern Neighbourhood Customs Cooperation Seminar, held from 19 to 21 October 2011 in Krakow, Poland.

The Seminar was intended to provide a forum for Directors General of Customs of EU Member States, the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), the EU institutions and the WCO to discuss improving cooperation between the EU and its Eastern neighbouring countries as part of the programme of the Polish Presidency of the EU.

At the opening session, following the statements by Algirdas Šemeta, EU Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud and Audit, and Walter Deffaa, Director General, DG TAXUD, Secretary General Mikuriya spoke about the synergy between EU integration and WCO standards and programmes to ensure connectivity across borders.

Considering the EU’s information exchange programmes, such as the New Customs Transit System, as being among the best practices in terms of the WCO’s Globally Networked Customs (GNC) concept, he suggested that the GNC Utility Block approach could help improve exchange of information between the EU Member States and their neighbouring countries and strengthen cooperation in working towards a common transit system.

He also welcomed the finding that the Eastern Partnership countries have made progress in modernization by basing their procedures on the Revised Kyoto Convention and other WCO standards to enhance connectivity with EU Member States and other neighbouring countries, taking into account the EU “acquis” which has the same goal as the WCO standards. He hoped that the Seminar would generate concrete ideas that could be taken on board by the WCO.

The six Eastern Partnership countries and their twinning partners within the EU shared their experience of Customs reform and partnership, while acknowledging the synergy between WCO and EU activities in their countries. They also deepened their understanding and discussed new proposals during breakout sessions on three topics, namely exchange of information, a common transit system and Customs modernization.