Negotiations in Chapter 29 – Customs union were officially opened At the Intergovernmental Conference on Accession of Montenegro to the European Union, held on 16 December 2014.
Since its establishment on 1 July, 1968, the Customs Union is one of the cornerstones of European integration and a key component of the well functioning of the internal European market. It represents a single customs area of 28 EU member states where the total internal trade turnover of goods between member states is performed, without customs formalities, the inspection over the goods and collection of customs duties.
Regarding trade relations with third countries, the valid principle is that all goods entering this area are subject to uniform rules of control and collection of prescribed tariffs. The prescribed customs duties are based on a common customs tariff and common and harmonized customs legislation for the application of this tariff, which determines foreign policy towards third countries.
The European Union determines the level of its import duties on the basis of international agreements, mainly those concluded within the Customs Cooperation Council and the World Trade Organization. With certain countries, such as the members of the European Economic Area - Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, the European Union has concluded agreements that allow duty-free access to certain products or imports of these products at a reduced price.
The national customs services of the EU Member States are in charge of the day-to-day operational implementation of the EU's customs policy. They collect customs duties, excise taxes and value added tax on imported products from third countries, and take care of respecting import quotas and other restrictions. Customs fees are one of the sources of revenue for the EU budget, in the way that Member States retain 25% of the revenues from collection of customs duties in their budget, while the remaining 75% is paid into the EU budget.
Member States also coduct appropriate customs controls at the external borders of the Union for the purpose of combating all forms of smuggling, organized crime, terrorism, money laundering, as well as the protection of intellectual property rights, the protection of health and consumer safety and the preservation of the environment.