The cigarettes seized during the operation were found on freight trains carrying wood and iron. They represent losses of at least one quarter of a million euros in terms of evaded customs duties and taxes. The European Commission estimates that smuggling of tobacco products costs the EU and Member States approximately 10 billion euros in revenue losses every year.

This customs operation received support from the European Commission s Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD), Europol, Frontex and the World Customs Organization. It is one of the activities of the Eastern Border Action Plan which Commissioner emeta launched last year to increase the Commission s efforts to reduce smuggling and customs fraud along the EU Eastern border (see MEMO/11/454).


The customs authorities of EU Member States as well as some non EU countries, in cooperation with OLAF, carry out regular joint customs operations with specific checks at European level. These coordinated operations target actions of a limited duration to combat the smuggling of sensitive goods and fraud in certain high risk areas and/or on identified trade routes (e.g. EU Eastern border).

To make the exchange of information easier during the operation called “Operation Barrel”, an operational coordination centre with contact persons from the Member States, third countries and Europol was set up in OLAF’s premises in Brussels. OLAF s IT platform allowed for a secure exchange of information and intelligence in real time between all participants. Incoming operational information was analysed according to a set of predefined risk criteria in order to identify suspicious shipments. This information was then sent to the concerned border control point where the responsible customs authorities were able to conduct a physical control of the goods. The use of EU funded scanner equipment on the border between Poland and the Ukraine proved also to be a powerful instrument in the detection of smuggled goods.

For more information


Photos of the operation available at

Video stock shots of the operation are available at

Video clip of the operation is available at

More information on joint customs perations

Homepage of Commissioner Algirdas emeta, EU Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti fraud Commissioner


Emer Traynor ( 32 2 292 15 48)

Natasja Bohez Rubiano ( 32 2 296 64 70)

New rules to restrict cigarettes bought into ireland from certain eu countries

Duty free camel nonfiltered cigarettes comparison prces – available stratholme tobacco list

NEW RESTRICTIONS IN Ireland from 1 January will mean those travelling from certain countries in the EU will only be able to bring a certain number of cigarettes back into Ireland with them without having to pay further duty.

The Revenue Commissioners said yesterday that individuals travelling from these countries will only be allowed to bring 300 cigarettes back with them for personal use without paying further excise duty when they arrive.

EU member states are permitted to impose these types of restrictions where cigarettes have been bought “duty paid” in a country that has not yet reached the EU minimum levels of tobacco products tax on cigarettes.

These countries include

  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Romania

Anyone with cigarettes in excess of that quantity must declare them to a Revenue officer and pay the appropriate excise duty from 1 January. The measure does not apply to other tobacco products brought in from these member states as long as those products are for personal use and not for commercial purposes.

Revenue said this restriction will be removed as each of the member states in question achieves the minimum level of tax required and they have until 31 December 2017 to do so.

Read Two women sentenced to prison over seized cigarettes> Read Cigarettes worth 20,000 seized in raids on Dublin houses>