Campione d’Italia joins EU Customs Union

Originally from Luzerner Zeitung, see link in German below

In 2016, Italy notified Switzerland of its intention to exercise its customs jurisdiction, including indirect taxation, over Campione d'Italia. At Italy's request, the Italian exclave Campione on Lake Lugano has been integrated into the customs territory of the EU since January 1, 2020. So far, the municipality surrounded by the canton of Ticino was part of the Swiss customs union.

Customs Controls

There were no customs controls between Switzerland and Campione. That is history now.

At the border between Bissone TI and Campione, which is decorated with an archway created by Fascism at the request of Benito Mussolini, customs signs are now emblazoned, which explain the procedure on arrival and departure when goods have to be declared.

However, systematic controls are not to be expected. There are samples on the Swiss side. The border guard already put this into practice on New Year's Day when it marked presence in front of the archway of the village. For its part, the Italian customs agency (Agenzia Dogane Monopoli) has nestled in the building that has long housed the Campione tourist office.

New bureaucracy

Sadness was felt in the Italian enclave on New Year's Day 2020. Dozens of residents met at lunchtime to let their frustration flow. "It's all irrational what's going on here," said an older man who said he had worked in the casino for 40 years. After the bankruptcy of the casino, the new customs statute now brings additional bureaucracy.

A radical change has already occurred in postal traffic. The Swiss post office was closed at the end of the year - the Swiss postal code «6911» for Campione, which was valid for decades, no longer exists. Postal traffic now runs exclusively through Italy.

And that doesn't seem to work well. "We haven't received any mail for weeks," complained a resident of the 2,000-person community, a hybrid community that has fewer and fewer Swiss elements. After all, they continue to pay in Swiss francs.

According to an agreement reached shortly before Christmas between Italy and Switzerland, services such as waste disposal and wastewater treatment will continue to be carried out by Ticino companies for the time being.

Swiss VAT

The exchange of notes confirms the introduction of a local consumption tax in Campione d'Italia. This tax will be in line with the Swiss VAT. Campione d'Italia will, therfore, remain outside the territorial scope of the EU Council's directive on the common system of value added tax. The aim is to avoid potential distortions of competition in the surrounding border region.

EU Excise

The enclave is also included within the territorial scope of the general arrangements for excise duty.

Swiss car numbers must be deregistered

The Campionesi have one year to deregister their Ticino license numbers and register again in Italy. The driver's license must also be reobtained within this period. The residents of Campione have previously been able to drive Ticino license plates, which will no longer be possible in the future.

Ticino will thus miss out on more than half a million Swiss francs in motor vehicle taxes previously paid by the Campionesi.

Casino closure

Since the casino closed due to bankruptcy in July 2018, the 2.7 square kilometer community has been in a desolate situation. Hundreds of casino and community workers lost their jobs. Whether the casino will ever open again is in the stars...

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