S&Ds welcome Commission’s proposal to crack down on illegal trade in cultural goods

S&Ds welcome Commission’s proposal to crack down on illegal trade in cultural goods, Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, Elena Valenciano, terrorists,

The Socialists and Democrats welcome the proposal to combat the illegal import of cultural artefacts presented by Commissioner Pierre Moscovici today. Illicit trade in valuable artworks, sculptures and archaeological artefacts is one of the most profitable trades in the world, estimated to be worth €6 billion of sales per year, with its profits potentially used to finance terrorist and other criminal activities. The European Commission now proposes to ban the import into the EU of cultural goods exported illegally from their home countries.

Elena Valenciano, MEP and S&D vice-president for international trade, said:

“We welcome Commissioner Moscovici’s initiative to crack down on the illegal trade in cultural goods. When ISIS deliberately destroyed cultural heritage sites in Syria and Iraq, it sparked an international outcry and opened the eyes of the world to the fact that the multi-billion euro antiquities trafficking has become a lucrative moneymaking venture for terrorists. For the sake of our security, we have to cut the money flows that nurture these terrorists by destroying their business model of antiquities trafficking.

“The existing patchwork of national legislation we currently have in the EU leaves too many loopholes for criminals to exploit. A European answer is needed to ensure that artefacts illegally exported from their home country cannot enter the EU. For this we will need a rigorous certification system in place and to ensure that all the players involved in the antiquities trade - from the custom officers, law-enforcement, the auction houses to the collectors - play their part to stop these crimes against our common cultural heritage.”

Note for the editor:
The proposal for a regulation falls under the co-decision process and will now be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.