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Explosives precursors: Fighting the misuse of chemicals by terrorists

13-03-2019

Since 2008, in line with its action plan to enhance the security of explosives, the European Union has considered regulating chemicals that could be used to produce homemade explosives to be a priority. A first legislative act in this regard – Regulation (EU) No 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors – was adopted in 2013. The 2015 Paris and 2016 Brussels terrorist attacks and their operating modes, which were based on the use of homemade explosives, led to an assessment of the ...

Since 2008, in line with its action plan to enhance the security of explosives, the European Union has considered regulating chemicals that could be used to produce homemade explosives to be a priority. A first legislative act in this regard – Regulation (EU) No 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors – was adopted in 2013. The 2015 Paris and 2016 Brussels terrorist attacks and their operating modes, which were based on the use of homemade explosives, led to an assessment of the efficiency of the 2013 regulation. To take into account existing challenges, and increase stakeholders' ability to implement and enforce restrictions and controls under the regulation, the European Commission launched its revision in February 2017. On 17 April 2018, it adopted a proposal for a new regulation on explosives precursors. Following trilogue negotiations, an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council was reached on 5 February 2019. The Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), approved the agreed text on 19 February 2019. The vote in plenary is due to take place in April 2019. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Revision of the Explosives Precursors Regulation

10-07-2018

Explosives precursors can be found in various chemical products used by consumers, general professional users, and industrial users, for example, in detergents, fertilisers, special fuels, lubricants and greases, water treatment chemicals. They can be used by terrorists to produce home-made explosives (HME). In April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment (IA) and an evaluation, which have been performed at the same time. The ...

Explosives precursors can be found in various chemical products used by consumers, general professional users, and industrial users, for example, in detergents, fertilisers, special fuels, lubricants and greases, water treatment chemicals. They can be used by terrorists to produce home-made explosives (HME). In April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment (IA) and an evaluation, which have been performed at the same time. The IA has attempted to provide a rather detailed, albeit mainly qualitative, analysis of the various types of impacts, disregarding some limitations to obtain data, such as a risk of exposing vulnerabilities in Member States and of jeopardising ongoing investigations and prosecutions. The IA notes that many SMEs are not part of the EU level industry associations, which have been consulted while drafting the ex-post evaluation. A question arises if the SMEs have been targeted at the stakeholder consultation in any other way, which appears not to be the case. The public consultation took less than 12 weeks, which is not in line with the Better Regulation Guidelines.

Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors: Implementation Appraisal

29-05-2018

Explosives precursors are chemical substances that can be (and have been) misused to manufacture homemade explosives (HMEs). Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, applicable since September 2014, has two general aims: to increase public security through a reduced risk of misuse of explosives precursors for the manufacture of HMEs and, at the same time, to enable the free movement of explosives precursor substances in the EU internal market, given their many legitimate ...

Explosives precursors are chemical substances that can be (and have been) misused to manufacture homemade explosives (HMEs). Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, applicable since September 2014, has two general aims: to increase public security through a reduced risk of misuse of explosives precursors for the manufacture of HMEs and, at the same time, to enable the free movement of explosives precursor substances in the EU internal market, given their many legitimate uses. The regulation establishes a system of restrictions and controls on a number of explosives precursors with the aim of limiting the general public's access to these substances. The regulation also establishes an obligation for economic operators to report suspicious transactions, disappearances and thefts of explosives precursors. Evidence collected through the Commission's evaluation and stakeholder consultation confirms the existence of significant challenges related to the application of the regulation. These include a fragmented landscape of restrictions and controls across Member States (which apply an outright ban, a licensing or a registration regime, or a combination of these); insufficient awareness along the supply chain about rules and obligations arising from the regulation; and a lack of clarity about certain provisions that focus particularly on the identification of products that fall within the scope of the regulation and the identification of legitimate/professional users. Lack of clarity as to the application of the regulation to online marketplaces is yet another problem, given the absence of an explicit reference to e-commerce in the regulation. Non-inclusion of all threat substances in the list of restricted explosives precursors is seen as yet another important challenge, and so is the perceived inflexibility of the procedure for adding new threat substances to the list, especially in view of the need to react quickly to new and evolving threats. In light of the above, in April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment and an evaluation.

ISIL/Da'esh and 'non-conventional' weapons of terror

02-05-2016

The European Union and its Member States must prepare for the possibility of a chemical or biological attack on their territory by the self-styled 'Islamic State' in Iraq and the Levant (known variously as IS, ISIS or ISIL, and by the Arabic acronym 'Da'esh'). Since October 2015, terrorist attacks in Ankara, the Sinai Peninsula, Beirut, Paris, Tunis and Brussels, for which ISIL/Da'esh has claimed responsibility, have cost the lives of over 530 people. Immediately following the attacks in Paris and ...

The European Union and its Member States must prepare for the possibility of a chemical or biological attack on their territory by the self-styled 'Islamic State' in Iraq and the Levant (known variously as IS, ISIS or ISIL, and by the Arabic acronym 'Da'esh'). Since October 2015, terrorist attacks in Ankara, the Sinai Peninsula, Beirut, Paris, Tunis and Brussels, for which ISIL/Da'esh has claimed responsibility, have cost the lives of over 530 people. Immediately following the attacks in Paris and Brussels, the jihadist terrorist group threatened further attacks in European cities. ISIL/Da'esh has vowed that future strikes will be more lethal and even more shocking, prompting experts to warn that the group may be planning to try to use internationally banned weapons of mass destruction in future attacks. On 19 November 2015, the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, raised the spectre of ISIL/Da'esh planning a chemical or biological attack. At present, Europeans are generally not contemplating the possibility that extremist groups might use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials during attacks in Europe. Under these circumstances, the impact of such an attack, should it occur, would be even more destabilising. European governments and EU institutions need to be on alert, and should consider publicly addressing the possibility of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological, radiological or even nuclear materials. The EU institutions have devoted considerable efforts to preventing a CBRN attack on European soil and preparing worst-case scenarios. However, some gaps remain, in particular with regard to information-sharing among Member States. This briefing updates the previous edition published on 3 December 2015.

ISIL/Da'esh and 'non-conventional' weapons of terror

03-12-2015

The European Union and its Member States must prepare for the possibility of a chemical or biological attack on their territory by the self-styled 'Islamic State' in Iraq and the Levant (known variously as IS, ISIS or ISIL, and by the Arabic acronym 'Da'esh'). Since the beginning of October 2015, terrorist attacks in Ankara, the Sinai Peninsula, Beirut, Paris and Tunis, for which ISIL/Da'esh has claimed responsibility, have cost the lives of 500 people. Immediately following the latest attack in ...

The European Union and its Member States must prepare for the possibility of a chemical or biological attack on their territory by the self-styled 'Islamic State' in Iraq and the Levant (known variously as IS, ISIS or ISIL, and by the Arabic acronym 'Da'esh'). Since the beginning of October 2015, terrorist attacks in Ankara, the Sinai Peninsula, Beirut, Paris and Tunis, for which ISIL/Da'esh has claimed responsibility, have cost the lives of 500 people. Immediately following the latest attack in Paris, the jihadist terrorist group threatened further attacks in European cities. ISIL/Da'esh has vowed that future strikes will be more lethal and even more shocking. This has prompted experts to warn that the group may be planning to try to use internationally banned weapons of mass destruction in future attacks. On 19 November 2015, the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, raised the spectre of ISIL/Da'esh planning a chemical or biological attack. At present, European citizens are not seriously contemplating the possibility that extremist groups might use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials during attacks in Europe. Under these circumstances, the impact of such an attack, should it occur, would be even more destabilising. European governments and EU institutions need to be on alert, and should consider publicly addressing the possibility of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological, radiological or even nuclear materials. The EU institutions have devoted considerable efforts to preventing a CBRN attack on European soil and preparing worst-case scenarios. However, some gaps remain, in particular with regard to information-sharing among Member States.

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