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Country Summary for EUROPEAN UNION

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property


‘Cultural goods’—items listed in the Annex (see “Examples” below). (1992 ECG, Art. 1)

'Cultural object'—
1) is classified or defined by a Member State, before or after its unlawful removal from the territory of a Member State, among the national treasures possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value under national legislation or administrative procedures within the meaning of Article 36 TFEU (2014/60/EU, Art. 2);
2) belongs an Annex category or forms an integral part of:
a) public collections listed in the inventories of museums, archives or libraries' conservation collection; or
b) the inventories of ecclesiastical institutions.

'Public Collections'—collections defined as public in accordance with the legislation of a Member State, which are the property of that Member State, of a local or regional authority within that Member State, or of an institution situated in the territory of that Member State, such institution being the property or, or significantly financed by, that Member State or local or regional authority. (2014/60/EU, Art. 2)

'Unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State'—
1) removed from the territory of a Member State in breach of its rules on the protection of national treasures or in breach of Regulation (EC) No 116/2009, or
2) not returned at the end of a period of lawful temporary removal or any breach of another condition governing such temporary removal. (2014/60/EU, Art. 2)

'Requesting Member State'—Member State from whose territory the cultural object has been unlawfully removed. (2014/60/EU, Art. 2)

'Requested Member State'—Member State in whose territory a cultural object unlawfully removed from the territory of another Member State is located. (2014/60/EU, Art. 2)

'Return'—physical return of the cultural object to the territory of the requesting Member State. (2014/60/EU, Art. 2)

'Possessor'—person physically holding the cultural object on his own account. (2014/60/EU, Art. 2)

'Holder'—person physically holding the cultural object for third parties. (2014/60/EU, Art. 2)

Examples from the Annex of 1992 ECG, 1993 RCO, 2003 Iraq Reg., 1995 PAH

Except as noted below, the Annexes to 1992 ECG, 1993 RCO and the 2003 Iraq Reg. are almost identical. Each divides cultural goods into fourteen categories, including archaeological objects, paintings, engravings, books and photographs. There are significant differences, however, in the definition of antique items included in Category 14 of each law. In many instances the objects are regulated only if they are of a certain age. For example, archaeological objects must be at least 100 years old. In the case of 1992 ECG and 1993 RCO, but not the 2003 Iraq Reg., the objects must exceed a threshold value before they are regulated. For example, “pictures” must have a minimum value of 150,000 euros.

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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