S&Ds lead large majority to end illegal imports of cultural goods in the EU

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The Socialists and Democrats led today a large cross-party majority in the trade and internal market committees to set up rules and protect cultural goods sold and imported in the EU from third countries. The new rules will ensure that imports of cultural artefacts are subject to the same controls along all EU external borders, thereby protecting the world cultural heritage and strengthening the fight against terrorism financing.
 
The European Parliament’s co-author of the report on imports of cultural goods, Alessia Mosca MEP, said:
 
“Today’s vote is a big success for us Socialists and Democrats. Despite strong resistance and multiple efforts by the conservatives in the European Parliament, we managed to galvanize support for a report that will, for the first time, establish common rules for the import of cultural goods in the EU from third countries. The new rules will finally put an end to divergent requirements across member states that allowed for different treatments in the trading of antiquities and artefacts and were often exploited by traffickers.
 
“The message we sent today is clear: Europe can allow neither the destruction of archaeological sites and artefacts, nor the illicit trade thereof. Illegal trade of arts is one of the most lucrative businesses next to those of drugs, weapons and counterfeit goods. It encourages organised crime, terrorist financing and money laundering. We must put an end to this business model! The S&D Group is committed to fighting to protect cultural heritage and promoting a value-based trade policy.”
 
The S&D negotiator on behalf of the internal market committee, Arndt Kohn MEP added:
 
“We achieved a balanced report that will put an end to the trafficking of cultural goods and reduce uncertainty regarding the licit or illicit nature of imported cultural objects in the EU. Thanks to certification and import licence requirements, importers and purchasers will know where the cultural artefacts originated from. At the same time, custom authorities across the EU will be enabled to seize and retain goods whose provenance is dubious. Most importantly, the new rules will effectively deprive terrorists of a source of income and protect cultural heritage. This is even more timely, as the fight against illicit trade in cultural goods is a key objective of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.”