In accordance with the Hungarian V4 Presidency program, the National Tax and Customs Administration organized an online expert meeting on 22 March 2022 jointly with its Slovak partner authority, in order to better combat the misuse of ‘designer fuels’.

The cooperation started in 2011 based on a decision by the V4 Customs Directors General and has gradually expanded in order to combat fraud effectively. The ‘Extended V4 Base Oil Working Group’ is now working closely with 26 countries and 4 international organizations – the World Customs Organization, Europol, Frontex and Eurojust – with the support of Europol/EMPACT.

Excise and criminal experts of the Working Group communicate directly and exchange information on a daily basis. In the organization of the joint operations, Hungary, together with its Slovak partner authority, has played a leading role from the very beginning.

The participants of the online meeting reported on recent progress, practical experience of latest operations, including new transport routes, depots, 3-4 generation product variations of designer oils and planned measures. The Hungarian chair and the Slovak co-chair of the meeting informed the participants of the outstanding achievements of the Working Group in 2021, the operational actions carried out and the latest international trends in fuel fraud. Several countries have indicated that because of the economic impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war (increasing retail fuel prices) they expect an increasing number of cases.

The participants agreed to carry out 4 international customs operations and agreed on the need for spontaneous actions as well based on day-to-day information exchange.

The next meeting will be hosted by the Slovak Presidency in September-October 2022.