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EU reinforces rules on marketing and use of explosive precursors

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad), gepubliceerd op vrijdag 14 juni 2019.

The EU is placing tighter controls on substances which can be used to produce home-made explosives. The Council today adopted a regulation imposing stricter rules regarding the marketing and use of explosive precursors throughout the EU, with a view to limiting their availability to the general public and ensuring the appropriate reporting of suspicious transactions throughout the supply chain.

These new rules introduce further restrictions for the members of the general public to obtaining access to chemical substances that can be used for the production of home-made explosives. The purpose is to prevent the illicit manufacture of explosives, given the evolving threat to public security caused by terrorism and other serious criminal activities. We take the security of our citizens very seriously.

Niculae Bădălău, Romanian Minister of economy

Explosive precursors are chemical substances that can be used for legitimate purposes, but can also be misused for the illicit manufacture of homemade explosives.

The new rules will limit the availability of explosive precursors to the general public and ensure the appropriate reporting of suspicious transactions throughout the supply chain, especially by economic operators.

The regulation provides for two distinct categories of explosive precursors :

  • "restricted", which cannot be made available, introduced, possessed or used by members of the general public, and
  • "regulated", for which suspicious transactions should be reported by economic operators.

Subject to the conditions set out in the regulation, member states retain the possibility of setting up licensing schemes, which would enable some restricted explosive precursors below certain concentration limits to continue to be made available to the general public.

Subject to control by the Commission, member states will also be able to apply the rules relating to restricted explosive precursors to chemical substances not covered by the regulation.

The new rules also impose a number of training and awareness-raising obligations on:

  • economic operators engaging in the manufacturing or selling explosive precursors and
  • national inspection authorities.

The regulation will start applying eighteen months after its entry into force.

Next steps

The regulation still has to be signed and published in the Official Journal of the EU. It shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication.

Background

Existing regulation (EU) No 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors restricts the availability, introduction, possession and use of selected explosives precursors to the general public and sets up rules on the reporting of suspicious transactions.

These restrictions and controls have proved to be insufficient to prevent the illicit manufacture of homemade explosives. For instance, the requirement to register transactions does not deter or prevent criminals from acquiring explosives precursors.

Furthermore, some of the obligations in the existing regulation, including those that seek to ensure transmission of information along the supply chain, are not sufficiently clear.

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