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European Anti-Fraud Office
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Customs mutual assistance – Regulation 515/97

Regulation 515/97 sets out how national authorities must cooperate with each other and with the Commission to implement EU customs and agricultural legislation.

The main purpose is to enable them to share informationon breaches, or suspected breaches, of this legislation. This information, obtained on the basis of 'mutual assistance', can be used as evidence in administrative and judicial proceedings.

Due to a number of recent developments that might impact the Regulation, the Commission is assessing the Regulation – mainly to account for:

  • the new EU data protection regime
  • new fraud risks in the customs sector (e.g. low-value consignments sent to the EU via e-commerce).


The evaluation will examine – with input from stakeholders – how the Regulation has been applied.

The overall scope is set out in the roadmap for evaluating Regulation 515/97.

How can you contribute?

We are seeking input from stakeholders on their experience in using the mutual assistance measures provided for in Regulation 515/97. In particular:

  • their effectiveness
  • obstacles to implementing them
  • gaps and shortcomings
  • suggested improvements.

Because the Regulation has no direct impact on the public, this consultation is not aimed at the general public.

Instead it will consult following interested parties, using a combination of questionnaires and interviews:

  • national authorities responsible for implementing EU customs and agricultural legislation, especially users of IT systems and databases established under Regulation 515/97
  • Commission departments with access to these IT systems and databases
  • carrier organisations (especially the World Shipping Council and the European Community Shipowners' Associations)
  • European Data Protection Supervisor
  • relevant international partners, especially the World Customs Organisation


End October 2019 – sending the questionnaires

February-March 2020 – analysis of the replies

March-June 2020 – preparing the final evaluation report

4th quarter 2020 – publication of the report