Public discussion of possible changes in Directive 93/7/EEC on the return of cultural objects unlawfully exported from the member states


The European Commission conducts public consultation on possible amendments to the procedure for bringing back cultural objects unlawfully exported from the territory of an EU member state.
It is a step in the process of evaluating of Directive 93/7/EEC and allows competent state authorities responsible for protection of cultural monuments, as well as all interested parties to express their opinions on the most effective ways to return cultural items exported from an EC member state and found in another EU member state.


The final date of the discussion is March 5, 2012. After its completion, within the EU will be offered various options for action. In the light of discussions and assessments will be made a proposal for revision of Directive 93/7/EEC in case it is deemed appropriate.

Objectives of the discussion

Europe's cultural heritage is protected both by the national laws of the EU member - states and by the EU legislation.
This statutory instrument is Directive 93/7/EEC of 15 March 1993 on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of the member states.
This directive was published in 1993 in the environment of a single European market. It aims at providing an opportunity for EU member states to regain their cultural goods classified as "national treasure" and illegally exported. For this purpose was created a special mechanism. An assessment of the effectiveness of the operation of Directive 93/7/EEC was made, which indicates that the system does not work adequately. This raises the willingness of the European Commission to simplify and facilitate the return of illegally exported cultural objects within the EU.

Target Groups

It will be properly evaluated every participation and any contribution from the following groups:

  • Public authorities (cultural institutions, customs agencies, police, judiciary, etc.);
  • Museums, libraries and archives;
  • Religious organizations;
  • Business Environment (trade with objects of art, auction houses, etc.);
  • Individuals.

Provision of the opinions

It would be properly assessed participation and contributions from individuals, businesses and organizations.
The European Commission has opened a special link at its web page with a questionnaire in 22 European languages. All contributions will be published later. European Commission pays special attention to the protection of personal data.

The survey can be found at the following link: