On 13 July 2017, the European Commission proposed new rules to stop imports in the European Union of cultural goods illicitly exported from their country of origin – the EU Regulation on the Import of Cultural Goods. A vote is scheduled on the 10 July 2018, and – if successful – the new regulations are expected to apply across all EU Member States from 01 January 2019.
UK Blue Shield recognises that the Proposed Regulations have an important and necessary objective: to prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural goods illicitly exported from a third country, thereby reducing trafficking in cultural goods, combatting terrorism financing and protecting cultural heritage, especially archaeological objects in source countries affected by armed conflict.
However, we have a number of concerns, which we express in this position paper
There are three major flaws: the inadequacy of using the 1970 UNESCO Convention; the difficulties in establishing a source country; and the difficulty identifying items in the different Categories of cultural goods. We also express a number of additional concerns which we do not consider to be fundamental but should be considered. If not addressed, we are concerned that the proposed Regulations may be insufficient to achieve their intended goals.
UKBS urges the UK Government address the concerns posed here in order to work towards comprehensive, pragmatic legislation.
UKBS has also released two other papers concerning UK implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (ratified December 2017), and the s.17 Offence.