How Can Ukraine Develop and Implement All Customs IT Systems Necessary for Joining the EU by 2030? Practical aspects on which the result depends

Customs IT systems are one of the key aspects of successful customs reform, with the nearest goal being a positive assessment by the European Commission regarding Ukraine’s readiness to join the European Union in the customs sector.

In recent years, there have been many discussions about what these IT systems should include and how they should be implemented in Ukraine. Now, all the general conversations, wishes, and political battles about “where to move” have been left behind. The process has shifted to a practical stage, where the question of “how to move” in the predetermined direction is paramount. Every component can have a decisive impact, and precise calculations are crucial for achieving the standards necessary for joining the EU. How is this seen from the perspective of European experience?

List of Systems

An important event in early February 2024 was the approval by the Ministry of Finance of the Long-Term National Strategic Plan for Digital Development, Digital Transformations, and Digitalization of the State Customs Service (hereinafter referred to as the Plan). This Plan serves as the foundation for the development of Ukrainian customs IT systems and is positively based on service-oriented architecture (SOA).

Additionally, the Plan is aligned with MASP-C (the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Electronic Customs of the EU), the document guiding the development of European customs IT systems. This alignment is crucial for setting the direction of development. However, two important aspects must be considered.

First, MASP-C applies to EU member states, which, besides these IT systems, have several other national systems supporting those defined by MASP-C. (The list of EU electronic customs systems can be found here: Therefore, as a candidate country, Ukraine must also complete its national systems accordingly to enable collaboration with other EU countries within the MASP-C framework.

Second, MASP-C is a “living” plan that is regularly updated. Therefore, as Ukraine prepares for its potential accession to the EU in 2030, it is important to monitor updates to the list of systems and their requirements.

Time, people, finances

To successfully implement the Plan, in addition to the exhaustively necessary list of systems, it must reflect the triad of resources: time, human and financial.


It is crucial to be realistic in planning. Despite the desire to accomplish everything quickly, project deployment dates should be set realistically. This requires a responsible approach to defining the human resources involved in development. Overly ambitious plans can be risky, and once plans are approved, their implementation should be under strict control.


Attention must be paid to selecting developers and involving process owners by the State Customs Service. Organizing a project management structure with regular monitoring and reporting is essential.

Best practices in the EU suggest that program developers are often external executors (outsourcers) rather than customs officials themselves. However, both IT experts and customs specialists should be involved in creating IT systems to ensure business processes are properly integrated. Additionally, each electronic system must have clearly defined owners among the customs office’s structural subdivisions, who are responsible for development and implementation.

Management control over development and implementation must be organized. According to EU countries’ practices, this involves the highest customs authority level, not just the CDTO, since the systems are meant to materialize customs processes defined by legislation. If the system fails, customs operations cannot proceed according to the law. The supervisory body can be a Supervisory Board, including representatives from the Ministry of Finance and the State Customs Service. A clear project management structure is also necessary.


Financial needs must be specified, including the amount of money required and the source of funding, as creating and implementing IT systems is costly. Delays in financing can halt progress and delay achieving the desired results, which is unacceptable given the tight deadlines.

Ukraine must develop its approach to guarantee a successful outcome, ensuring European Commission approval and subsequent EU membership. European experience can provide valuable insights into what works and what risks may hinder a positive assessment. Our experts will address these issues and plan a series of seminars for representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the State Customs Service.

Which Systems Are Key?

What systems should receive special attention? In our experience, these are the three key systems:

1. NCTS (UCC New Computerized Transit System): This system supports the Convention on the common transit procedure, already implemented in Ukraine with Phase 5. Conditions must be created for a timely transition to NCTS Phase 6 by approximately 2026.

2. Automated Export System (UCC Automated Export System – AES)

3. National Import System (UCC National Import Systems): This critically important system encompasses tariff classification, quota management, payments, guarantees, etc.

Ukraine should also focus on the following systems: UCC Economic Operator Registration and Identification System (EORI), UCC Import Control System 2 (ICS2) – ENS, and an integrated tariff system (TARIC type) included in the tariff or customs clearance system.

The European Future Has Already Begun

To practically begin developing the European Customs Union, Ukraine should participate in meetings of the European Commission’s Coordination Group on Electronic Customs. Preparing for future work in various EU expert groups on customs issues is also essential.

The EU is ready to continue supporting Ukraine through the EU4PFM Program by helping to create IT systems and providing consulting, expertise, training, and education for customs officials. For the EU and other donors aiding Ukraine, it is fundamental that this assistance is effective. Therefore, the EU and other donors will monitor the results of this aid, including assessing the developed IT systems and their implementation status.

We share a common goal: preparing Ukraine for EU membership. The path to achieving this goal must be chosen with precision.