Explosives precursors are chemical substances that can be used for legitimate purposes, but that can also be misused to manufacture homemade explosives. Such explosives have been used in many of the recent terrorist attacks in the EU, including those in Paris in 2015, Brussels in 2016 and Manchester and Parsons Green in 2017. To protect citizens from the threat posed by explosives precursors, the Commission has taken a number of actions.
The Regulation (EU) No 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors harmonises rules across Europe on the making available, introduction, possession and use, of certain substances or mixtures that could be misused for the illicit manufacture of explosives.
The Regulation restricts the access to, and use of, seven chemical substances by members of the general public ('restricted explosives precursors,' listed in Annex I). Member States may decide to grant access by the public to these substances only through a system of licenses and registration. In addition, the Regulation introduces obligations for economic operators who place such substances on the market. Operators must ensure the appropriate labelling of restricted explosives precursors, and must also report any suspicious transactions involving both the restricted substances and other non-restricted substances which are also considered of concern (eight, listed in Annex II).
Under the Regulation, each Member State is expected to designate a competent authority and adopt its own measures to implement the restrictions and, if it opts to have one, a licensing or registration regime. The competent authority in each Member State is also required to set up its own national contact point(s) for the reporting of suspicious transactions. The Commission is tasked with making the list of measures notified by Member States publicly available and with drawing up guidelines to facilitate the implementation of the Regulation.
The Standing Committee on Precursors (SCP), an expert group chaired by the Commission and composed of representatives of Member States and of industry associations, assists the Commission in its work to facilitate and harmonise the implementation of the Regulation.
In February 2017, the Commission adopted a report on the application of the Regulation [COM(2017) 103 final]. The report outlines the main challenges faced by Member States and the supply chain and examines the feasibility and desirability of strengthening the system in the future. It concludes that the entry into force of the Regulation has helped reduce access to dangerous explosive precursors which can be misused to manufacture homemade explosives. It adds, however, that changes to the Regulation should be considered in order to increase the capacity of all those involved in implementing and enforcing the restrictions and controls. With this in mind, the Commission has committed to carefully assessing the impact of possible new and strengthened measures.
More information on the revision process is available at Work-in-progress: Revision of the Regulation on the marketing and use of explosives precursors
On 18 October 2017, the Commission adopted a Recommendation on immediate steps to prevent misuse of explosives precursors (PDF). In spite of efforts to effectively restrict and control access to these substances, the threat posed by homemade explosives remained high and several attacks and incidents involving explosives precursors had taken place. The Commission therefore recommended a series of measures aimed at limiting the availability of explosives precursors to the general public, and strengthening cooperation with supply chain actors.
On 17 April 2018, the Commission adopted a proposal for Regulation on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, amending Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors (PDF). The proposal aims to strengthen and clarify the existing rules in order to close security gaps and deny terrorists the means to act. The proposal was accompanied by an impact assessment, assessing the available policy options. The proposed measures include:
All EU/EEA Member States must adopt measures and designate authorities to implement and enforce EU legislation. The following documents are revised regularly on the basis of notifications received from Member States:
More information for some EU/EEA countries is available below:
|Austria||Public overview of measures (PDF)
Website of the Austrian competent authority
Website of the Austrian Economic Chambers
|Belgium||Website of the Belgian competent authority (FR - NL - DE - EN)
Website of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (VBO/nl – FEB/fr)
|Bulgaria||Decree 283 of 29.12.2015|
|Croatia||Website of the Croatian competent authority|
|Cyprus||Website of the Cypriot competent authority|
|Czech Republic||Website of the Czech competent authority|
|Denmark||Website of the Danish competent authority|
|Estonia||Website of the Estonian competent authority|
|Finland||Website of the Finnish competent authority|
|Ireland||Website of the Irish competent authority|
|Latvia||Website of the Latvian competent authority|
|Lithuania||Website of the Lithuanian competent authority|
|Luxembourg||Website of the Luxembourgish national authority|
|Netherlands||Website of the Netherlands competent authority|
|Norway||Public overview of measures
Regulation 588 of 2 June 2015 (English)
Website of the Norwegian competent authority
|Slovakia||Website of the Slovakian competent authority|
|Slovenia||Website of the Slovenian competent authority|
|Sweden||Website of the Swedish competent authority|
|Switzerland [non-EEA]||Website of the Swiss competent authority (DE – FR – IT)|
|United Kingdom||Public overview of measures for Great Britain
Public overview of measures for Northern Ireland
Website of the British competent authority
The Standing Committee on Precursors (SCP) has issued a Guidelines document, available in English only, which provides guidance to Member State competent authorities and to economic operators in the implementation of the requirements contained in Regulation 98/2013. The SCP Guidelines also offer advice on good practice to economic operators.
In addition, guidance materials for economic operators have been prepared by four partner countries, through a project co-funded by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime (ISEC) programme of DG Migration and Home Affairs:
The Commission has adopted the following reports based on the Regulation: