TERRORISM

EU to crack down on illegal sale of cultural heritage

The European Union plans to tighten rules and enforcement on the illegal import of art heritage objects which now are often used to finance extremist groups.

The EU Commission said Thursday it wants to extend and toughen the bans on the import of cultural goods from war-torn third countries which lack a strong central government able to exert control over its heritage objects.

At the moment, legislation among the 28 member nations is not streamlined and often ineffective against criminal gangs and extremist groups seeking to make many millions from stolen objects in places like Syria or Iraq.

"By preventing them from entering the EU, we can help dry up this source of income," said EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.