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17 July 2019
Economic and financial affairs News

EU to reinforce rules on marketing and use of explosive precursors

According to the new Regulation, the access to explosive precursors by members of the general public is to become subject to even tighter controls. The Council’s Permanent Representatives’ Committee today endorsed the provisional agreement reached on 4 February between the Romanian presidency of the Council and representatives of the European Parliament on a draft 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.

Explosives 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.

The proposed 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 above certain concentration levels, and
  • “regulated”, for which suspicious transactions should be reported by economic operators, including online marketplaces.

Subject to the conditions set out in the regulation, member states retain the possibility of setting up licensing schemes, which would enable certain restricted explosive precursors 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 shall apply eighteen months after its entry into force, which is expected to take place before the end of 2020.

Next steps

The agreed text, following the usual legal/linguistic scrutiny, will be submitted for formal adoption to the European Parliament and the Council.

Background

With a view to preventing the illicit manufacture of explosives, 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.

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

Furthermore, the existing regulation is not clear enough as regards several of the obligations it imposes, including those that seek to ensure transmission of information along the supply chain.

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