The customs regulations - together with the agricultural regulations - are an important part of the European cooperation in creating a free internal market. Fraud prevention within the scope of the customs union and the common agricultural policy is important in this respect and requires efficient cooperation between the different authorities in the Member States. All this has been set forth in regulation (EU) 515/97 of the Council of the European Union dated 13 March 1997. This regulation also provides for the use of information systems for customs. This cooperation has also been set forth in the Agreement relating to the use of computer science in customs from 1995 and supplementary agreements, approved in the Dutch Act relating to Approval of the CIS Agreement of 6 July 2000.
The Customs Information System
The Customs Information System (CIS) is intended to facilitate and accelerate the exchange of information between the cooperating authorities. The system consists of a central database that can be accessed online by all Member States and the European Commission. The database only contains those data (including personal data) that are necessary to enforce customs regulations. The nature of these personal data has been carefully described. The collection and processing of these data are bound by the rules for the protection of personal data.
Composition of the Customs GCA
The Customs GCA is composed of members from the national authorities that are charged with the protection of personal data in the different Member States of the European Union. In the Netherlands, this is the Dutch DPA.
Tasks of the Customs GCA
The national supervisory authorities for the protection of personal data must also supervise the CIS. They must guarantee that the processing and use of the personal data entered in the CIS do not violate the rights of the data subjects and that the data subjects can exercise their rights. That is why the national control authorities have access to the CIS. The national supervisory authorities should also cooperate in this. The Customs GCA is the collaborative body of the European supervisory authorities and is authorised to supervise the functioning of the CIS. The Customs GCA also has access to the CIS.
European Secretariat Customs GCA
Europol, Schengen, Customs Data Protection Secretariat,
Council for the European Union
Rue de la Loi 175
Telephone: +32 (0)2 285 50 26