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The European Customs Union is a Customs Union organisation of European Countries. The European Customs Union (ECU) forms one of several organisations created at the Pan-European level. The organisation was created in 1955 on the tenth anniversary of Germany's surrender by France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium. The purpose of the ECU is to facilitate trade within Europe and to bring European economies together to make waging war on the continent impossible due to close trade ties between the countries.

Countries Participating by Number of Permanent Delegates

  • France - 12
  • West Germany - 12
  • Italy - 12
  • The Netherlands - 4
  • Belgium - 4
  • Luxembourg - 1

Decisions in the European Customs Union

Decisions in the ECU are taken by three primary authorities;

  • The High Authority of the ECU
  • The Council on Customs Union
  • The Permanent Delegations to the ECU

There is also a Common Customs Court which oversees the Union and ensures member states follow the agreements decided upon underneath the High Authority.

The High Authority of the ECU is headed by a President appointed by the Council of the European Trade Community.

The Council on Customs Union is a Council made up of the Trade Ministers of the member states. These ministers meet once every three months in the Huis ten Bosch Palace in the Hague, the Netherlands. The General Secretariat which is the civil service located under the High Authority is also based in the Palace for the remaining time each year.

Alongside the trade ministers (meeting in the form of the Council on Customs Union) each member state sends permanent delegations to the Customs Union that vote on all customs proposals. These delegations are composed of civil servants, with expertise in trade matters, selected by the national governments.

The European Customs Union is tasked with the implementation of the Common External Tariff established by the High Authority of the European Customs Union with the approval of the European Community Assembly.