On 25 April 2019, the Official Journal published Regulation (EU) 2019/632 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 amending Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 to prolong the transitional use of means other than the electronic data-processing techniques provided for in the Union Customs Code (Regulation 2019/632). Article 278 of the Union Customs Code (UCC) set a single deadline of 31 December 2020 for the deployment of all the systems referred to in that Article, and despite the efforts made by the Union and some of the Member States at budgetary and operational levels to complete the work within the time limit given, it has become evident that some systems can only be partially deployed by that date. This implies that some pre-existing systems will need to continue in use beyond that date. In the absence of legislative amendments extending that deadline, companies and customs authorities will be unable to perform their duties and legal obligations as regards customs operations.
Regulation 2019/632 replaces Article 278 of the UCC with a new Article 278 which extends until 31 December 2020, 2022, or 2025 (depending on the specific data-processing techniques) the ability to use means other than the electronic data-processing techniques referred to in Article 6(1) on a transitional basis, where the electronic systems which are necessary for the application of specified provisions of the Code are not yet operational.
Regulation 2019/632 also adds a new Article 278a, which establishes annual reporting obligations for the European Commission on progress by the Commission and Member States in developing and deploying those electronic systems. The reporting obligations for the Commission commence on 31 December 2019. Article 278a also requires Member States to provide to the Commission, twice per year, an updated table on their own progress in developing and deploying the electronic systems, which the Commission shall publish on its website.