EP delegation visits Bulgaria’s Customs Agency, Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint


A delegation of the Committee on Budgetary Control with the European Parliament (EP) visited the Central Customs Directorate of the National Customs Agency (NCA) and the Kapitan Andreevo customs checkpoint on September 18-19.
The delegation was headed by Jens Geier and was comprised by representatives of different political groups with the EP. The visit aimed at introducing the MEPs to the work of the customs administration as part of the engagement of the Committee on Budgetary Control in the field of fight against frauds and protection of the financial interests of the EU. Special attention was paid to the fight against cigarettes smuggling.
At the meeting in the capital city Sofia NCA Director Kiril Zhelev presented the work of the customs administration and stressed that it was able to realise the mission and goals in terms of the engagements towards the EU and the financial security of the Bulgarian state, including in terms of the tax frauds and smuggling.
The MEPs showed great interest in the amount of seized cigarettes, the people sentenced by the court over cigarettes smuggling and the resistance to the illegal distribution of tobacco products along the internal and external borders of the Unions.
Kiril Zhelev summarised the objective and subjective problems in the fight against cigarettes smuggling in Bulgaria, stressing that the Bulgarian customs administration will ask for the support of the citizens and the business in this field and it has already started working in this direction.
He pointed out that the cooperation between the NCA and the European institutions was highly important.
During the visit at the Kapitan Andreevo customs checkpoint the delegation examined the work of the customs officers with the new x-ray systems. The MEPs were informed that the standard processing of a single truck takes 2 to 3 minutes, while the x-ray check - up to 7 minutes, under a work load of an average of 700-8000 trucks crossing the checkpoint per day.
The Svilengrad Customs prognosticated that after the finalisation of the reconstruction of the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint its capacity would be doubled.
The members of the delegation showed interest in the new tendencies in terms of the violations of the intellectual property rights and the results of the work of the customs officers against them. The MEPs were also introduced to the results of the work of the customs checkpoints in the fight against drug trafficking.