The EU’s Customs Union celebrates its 50th anniversary on July 1, one of the greatest achievements of the European Union.
Borne out of the landmark post-war agreements that paved the way for European integration, the Customs Union opened for business in 1968. By abolishing customs tariffs for trade in goods within what is now the EU, the Customs Union marked the first decisive step towards the EU becoming the world’s largest trading bloc, with the 28 customs administrations of the EU acting as though they were one entity.
Over the past 50 years, the Customs Union has developed into a cornerstone of our Single Market, keeping EU borders safe and protecting our citizens from prohibited and dangerous goods such as weapons and drugs. It also facilitates an ever-growing portion of global trade: EU customs handled 16% of the world’s commerce in 2017.