Regulating imports of cultural goods [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Krisztina Binder (1st edition),

Römische Münzen

© Manuel Gross / Fotolia

Antiquities and valuable works of art from impoverished or war-torn countries and regions are often illegally acquired, sold and imported into the European Union (EU). In addition to damaging or destroying the archaeological sites and the artefacts themselves, illicit trade in looted cultural goods has also been identified as a source of income for terrorists and organised crime groups.

Currently, with the exception of two specific measures for Iraq and Syria, there is no EU legislation covering the import of cultural goods from third countries entering the EU. The national legislation in this area introduced by some Member States are divergent. Therefore, an EU-level approach would ensure that imports of cultural goods are subject to uniform controls along all the EU external borders.

The legislative proposal, as a follow-up to other EU initiatives aimed at strengthening the fight against terrorism financing, intends to prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural goods that have been removed from a third country illegally, and thereby to combat trafficking in cultural goods, deprive terrorists of a source of income, and protect cultural heritage.


Stage: EESC

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