A theater company in Essen plans a tour through the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. Two drivers are instructed to take a part of the stage décor, costumes, etc. to the individual venues using a rented truck.
Since January 1, 1994, the European Union has had a common customs law that is based on the so-called customs code. According to this code, movement of goods within the customs territory of the EU is essentially free (with the exception of excise taxes that can be neglected for the purpose of this publication).
Art and stage décor may be transported within the EU customs territory without having to consider customs formalities. However, if the cast were to give a performance in Switzerland and would thus leave the customs territory, certain formalities would have to be considered. This also holds true for transit traffic (s. Transport beyond EU borders). See also the paper Transporting works of art from Germany to Switzerland.
The EU currently has 28 member states. It should be noted that the customs territory of the EU is not the same as its tax territory: The Canary Islands (Spain) and various overseas departments of France (Guadeloupe, Martinique, etc.), for example, are part of the customs territory but not of the tax territory of the EU and are considered third countries for some tax purposes. Therefore, customs formalities must be considered (s. Transport beyond EU borders).
An overview of the relevant territories and other information is available (in German language) through the Customs Information and Knowledge Management Office (Informations- und Wissensmanagement Zoll).
The EU customs law has been under consideration for some time. Following a modernisation process, a recast of the Union Customs Code is now at hand: Regulation (EU) No 952/2013. On October 30, 2013, it came into effect and will apply from May 1, 2016.