Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

The EU Commission has today announced the launch of a new special group tasked with identifying innovative solutions for the most pressing challenges facing the EU’s Customs Union. The ‘Wise Persons Group on Challenges Facing the Customs Union’ will advise EU institutions and the Member States on how to prepare for new business models and technological developments, and how to efficiently manage the Customs Union to ensure agile and robust customs processes to accelerate the twin digital and green transitions.

This group will be headed by former Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain, Arancha González Laya, with the support of Vice-Chair Mateja Vraničar Erman, Adviser to the Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Minister of Finance.

Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said:

To adequately prepare for the future of the Customs Union, we need new ideas from people with extensive experience and knowledge, and who are used to thinking outside the box. I look forward to the group’s proposals on how customs can work more efficiently for the benefit of our citizens and businesses.” 

With 900 million consignments worth almost €4 trillion per year, the EU is the largest trading bloc in the world. Digitalisation, globalisation and the changing nature of trade present new opportunities as well as new challenges. Efficient customs clearance and controls are essential to protect EU citizens and businesses, while at the same time enabling legitimate trade, which is crucial to growth and recovery. The members, coming from politics, industry, trade and academia, will deliver a final report that will inform the inter-institutional debate by spring 2022.

All members will be participating in a personal capacity. The full list of members and more information are available online.