• Homemade explosives used in 40% of terrorist attacks in the EU between 2015 and 2017 
  • New chemicals added to the list of banned substances 
  • Clearer licensing and screening systems for the sale of dangerous chemicals 

Plans to update and tighten rules on the use and sale of chemicals that could be used to make homemade explosives, were informally agreed with Council negotiators on Monday.

The current rules restrict access to a number of chemicals that could be used to manufacture homemade explosives. Members of the general public can only use these chemicals with special licencing or registration regimes. Furthermore, suspicious transactions involving these explosive precursors have to be reported to the authorities.


Despite these restrictions, homemade explosives were used in approximately 40% of terrorist attacks in the EU between 2015 and 2017, demonstrating clear gaps in existing procedures.


Parliament and Council negotiators agreed to strengthen the rules by:


  • adding new chemicals to the list of banned substances. This would include sulphuric acid which is used to produce TATP, the explosive used in the 2015 attacks in Paris, the Brussels attack in 2016 and the Manchester attack in 2017;

  • tightening the conditions for granting licences to the general public for the purchase and use of explosives precursors and ending the current weak registration systems that allow people to buy restricted substances by simply showing an ID card;

  • clarifying that online marketplaces are equally covered by the rules on sale and on reporting of suspicious transactions.

The restrictions would not apply to professionals who need to use these chemicals in connection to their trade or profession.


Quotes


Rapporteur Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, LV) said: “Stronger regulation of marketing and use of explosives precursors are essential steps in making Europe a safer place. Preventing bomb-making, illicit trade in explosives (including on the “dark web”), as well as harmonisation of marketing in the EU, were our priorities in the negotiations. The new rules ensure clearer definitions, stricter control measures and better information-sharing along the supply chain”.


Next steps


The agreed text now needs to be formally approved by the Civil Liberties Committee, Parliament as a whole and the Council before entering into force.


The new rules will apply 18 months after their publication. Issued licences will remain valid 12 months after the application of the new rules.