Regulation (EU) 2019/880 on the introduction and the import of cultural goods

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Publication Date 07/06/2019
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Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 regarding the treatment of non-EU cultural goods entering the customs territory of the Union.

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This initiative aims to prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural goods illicitly exported from a third country, thereby reducing trafficking in cultural goods, combatting terrorism financing and protecting cultural heritage, especially archaeological objects in source countries affected by armed conflict.

The Regulation, proposed by the European Commission on 13 July 2017, aims to:

  • establish a common definition for cultural goods at import;
  • ensure importers exercise diligence when buying cultural goods from third countries;
  • determine standardised information to certify the goods are legal;
  • provide for effective deterrents to trafficking; and
  • promote the active involvement of stakeholders in protecting cultural heritage.


In the framework of the 2015 European Agenda on Security and of the 2016 Action Plan to step up the fight against the financing of terrorism, the Commission announced that it would prepare a legislative proposal against illicit trade in cultural goods. The European Parliament and the Council welcomed the Agenda and the Action Plan and requested further intensification of work.

The intention to prepare a legislative proposal was also announced in a Joint Communication of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations. At the global level, this initiative should also be seen in the light of the declaration of G20 Leaders of 8 July 2017, in which they affirmed their commitment to tackle the alternative sources of financing of terrorism, including the looting and smuggling of antiquities.

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Commentary and Analysis
EPRS: Briefing, December 2017: Import of cultural goods [Initial Appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment]
EPRS: Briefing, February 2018: Regulating imports of cultural goods [EU Legislation in Progress]
EPRS: Plenary at a Glance, October 2018: Import of cultural goods

EUR-Lex: COM(2017)375: Proposal for a Regulation on the import of cultural goods
EUR-Lex: SWD(2017)262: Impact assessment accompanying COM(2017)375
EUR-Lex: SWD(2017)263: Executive summary of the impact assessment accompanying COM(2017)375

ESO Records
Commission launches proposal for Regulation on the illicit trade in cultural goods

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