Cracking down on illegal import of cultural goods
14 July, 2017
The Commission tabled last Thursday new rules to clamp down on the illegal import and trafficking of cultural goods from outside the EU, often linked to terrorist financing and other criminal activity, the EU press service reported. The proposal marks one of the final steps set out in the Commission's action plan to strengthen the fight against terrorism financing.
“Money is oxygen to terrorist organisations. We are taking action to cut off each of their sources of financing. This includes the trade of cultural goods, as terrorists derive funding from the looting of archaeological sites and the illegal sale of cultural objects,” First VP Frans Timmermans said. “Today we are demonstrating the Commission's commitment to protecting this global heritage,” Culture Commissioner Tibor Navracsics added.
The new rules foresee a number of actions which should ensure that the import of illicit cultural goods becomes much more difficult in the future. A new common EU definition for 'cultural goods' will cover a broad range of objects including archaeological finds, ancient scrolls, the remains of historical monuments, artwork, collections and antiques. A new licensing system for the import of archaeological objects will be also introduced, while importers will have to obtain licences from the competent authorities in the EU.