50 Years of the EU Customs Union and EU VAT System: Developments, Challenges and Alternatives

EFS, Erasmus University Rotterdam is celebrating 50 years of the EU Customs Union and EU VAT System by presenting an outlook on various developments, challenges and alternatives.

The European Customs Union, which marked its 50th anniversary on 1 July 2018, is a fundamental pillar of the European Union as a single trading area, and both supports and protects the Single Market. While the creation of the Customs Union can be seen as one of the EU’s greatest achievements to date, the anniversary celebrations have been somewhat overshadowed by the challenges currently being faced in the form of Brexit, trade wars and sanctions. With globalisation under attack, this seminar takes the 50th anniversary as an opportunity to rethink the concept of the Customs Union.

At this conference, academic and professional experts will share their views on possible alternatives to the reforms, as well as exchanging thoughts on various recent developments and challenges facing the Customs Union. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the possible consequences in practice.


About Prof. De Wit

Walter de Wit (1962) received his master's degree in 1989 in Tax Law at the University of Leiden. He graduated both in General Tax Code and in Indirect Taxes. In 1992, De Wit started working as a part-time lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. He eventually became a professor at Erasmus School of Law in 2013.

About Prof. Merkx

Prof. Madeleine Merkx obtained her PhD in 2011 at Tilburg University with her thesis The permanent address and usual residence in VAT. Since 2015 she is an associate professor at Leiden University. She is also a partner at BDO Accountants and Adviseurs. In 2018 Prof. Merkx was appointed endowed professor at Erasmus School of Law. 

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About European Fiscal Studies

European Fiscal Studies (EFS) is a partnership between the tax departments of the Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Schools of Law and Economics.

EFS has been a leading education and research institute in the fields of indirect taxes (VAT and customs duties) and direct taxes (personal, corporate and source taxation) in a European and wider international context for over 25 years. EFS aims to pursue and promote academic education and research exploring the implications of international, and particularly EU, law for national tax systems. As well as regularly hosting academic symposia, conferences and lectures, EFS offers a wide range of post-master programmes and top-level seminars.

EFS programmes are taught by renowned professors and guest speakers, whose experience and reputation in their specialised fields guarantee high educational standards. The programmes are designed for tax specialists with several or more years of professional experience, with the diversity in the backgrounds of participants and speakers making EFS a unique network platform for exchanging knowledge.