Montag, 21.01.2019 05:41 Uhr

New rules to stop illicit trafficking in cultural goods

Verantwortlicher Autor: Peter Schellinck Brussels, 02.01.2019, 15:55 Uhr
Presse-Ressort von: Peter Schellinck Bericht 2009x gelesen

Brussels [ENA] The EU is taking measures to prevent the illegal trafficking of cultural goods. EU ambassadors meeting in Coreper today endorsed a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on a draft regulation which will prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural goods illegally exported from a non-EU country. The regulation covers cultural goods that are created or discovered outside the EU and are due

to be released in free circulation or placed under a customs procedure other than transit. "Illicit trafficking in cultural goods deprives countries, especially the least developed, of their cultural heritage. It also supports terrorism and other criminal activities. These new rules show how determined we are to bring this to an end." Quoted by Hartwig Löger, Austrian Federal Minister for Finance.

The regulation covers cultural goods that are created or discovered outside the EU and are due to be released in free circulation or placed under a customs procedure other than transit. Depending on the extent to which they are vulnerable to pillage and destruction, cultural works are divided into two categories under the draft regulation. Imports of the most vulnerable cultural goods, such as archaeological objects and elements of monuments, will require a special import licence issued by an EU country if they are at least 250 years old. This licence will be issued upon proof by the importer that the goods in question have been lawfully exported from their country of origin.

Imports of less vulnerable cultural goods, such as collections of fauna or flora, coins, engraved seals, paintings, sculptures, books, which are at least 200 years old and are worth at least €18 000 will require a statement by the importer that the goods in question have been lawfully exported. Information on cases where import licences have been granted and importer statements issued will be stored in a centralised electronic data base, which will be set up by the Commission and be accessible to all national authorities in the EU.

The proposed regulation complements the existing EU legal framework on trade in cultural goods, which until now has only included legislation covering the export of cultural goods and the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of an EU country. The European Parliament and the Council will each have to proceed to the formal adoption of the regulation, which shall apply in principle as from the day of its entry into force. Deferred application is foreseen with regard to some provisions to allow time for the necessary administrative adjustments by EU customs authorities.

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