you're reading...
Economic and Social Policies, PUBLICATIONS, Structural and Cohesion Policies

Establishing Free Zones for regional development

Free Zones are geographic areas in which a governmental authority offers incentives, different from the host country’s regular policies, to companies operating in the region. Given the nature of these incentives, designated zones are often said to function as “growth poles” for the region, or even beyond.

Tax free zone sign

© creative soul / Fotolia

Within the European Union, 74 Free Zones are defined under the Community Customs Code. Exemptions beyond customs arrangements can include services such as grants offered for research and development and advanced infrastructure. But tax incentives may also be offered and these may, especially on a regional level, distort competition. As such, the tax regime applied needs to be compliant with internal market and State aid rules.

As for customs regulation, the Modernised Community Customs Code, to take effect by the end of June 2013, may also have an effect on those Free Zones in which there is currently no physical control of goods leaving and entering the zone. A measure mostly meant to streamline customs procedures amongst Member States but also underlining the importance of sufficient regulatory oversight in such zones to avoid institutional problems and organised crime.

Read the complete briefing here.

Examples of European Free Zones



  1. Pingback: The week on the EP Library’s blog: Ruta Sepetys | Library of the European Parliament - March 29, 2013

Leave a Reply

Download the EPRS App

EPRS App on Google Play
EPRS App on App Store
What Europe Does For You
EU Legislation in Progress
Topical Digests
EPRS Podcasts

Follow Blog via Email

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,537 other subscribers

Disclaimer and Copyright statement

The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy.

For a comprehensive description of our cookie and data protection policies, please visit Terms and Conditions page.

Copyright © European Union, 2014-2019. All rights reserved.

%d bloggers like this: