The Cat A programme on “Harmonising military requirements related to Customs” (CUSTOMS) has been developed to address customs related activities for the military. This programme is aiming to develop one Customs form and one standard process (if possible identical between EU and NATO), in compliance with the Union Customs Code (UCC: EU law on Customs).
Since May 2016, the UCC has been applied, replacing the 1992 Community Customs Code. Prior to the implementation of the UCC, most EU Member States had implemented the Form 302 (based upon the NATO 302 procedure) in their national legislation. The objective was to ensure a harmonised management of all customs related activities throughout Member States. Third countries with a close relationship with the EU also adopted the same Form 302, which enables them to connect to the UCC procedures. At the start of the programme, there was no reference of the EU Form 302 or a dedicated database for customs related to military activities in the UCC Work Programme.
Through the work conducted within the scope of the Cat A programme on Customs, a harmonised EU Form 302 to be used for customs related activities was drafted, which encompasses all necessary information related to movement and will serve as a basis for the digitalisation of military customs related activities. The standardized exchange of information using the EU Form 302 will reduce the time required for the completion of customs formalities (including possible customs controls) and will therefore enhance the military mobility. The form was handed over to the European Commission (DG TAXUD), was included in the legal amendments of the UCC and entered into force in July 2020. Moreover, DG TAXUD released a single set of guidance for military authorities and customs officials, to ensure the effective use of the EU form 302.
Digitalisation is the next step in this programme and is expected to reduce the administrative burden considerably. According to the UCC per 2025, all exchanges of customs related information, such as declarations, applications, or decisions, as required under the customs legislation, shall be made by using electronic data-processing techniques. To that end, a programme arrangement has been signed by 23 EU Members States and Norway in May 2021, with the aim to enable the digitalisation of the customs related processes.
A Customs functionality is also included in the EDF proposal EDF-2021-PROTMOB-D-DMM: “Development of a digital system for the secure and quick exchange of information related to military mobility”. To ensure complementarity and avoid duplications with the Customs programme, EDA is closely following the developments of the EDF proposal.