The Council of the EU has adopted priority measures strengthening the EU’s rules governing the marketing and sale of explosive precursor materials.
Under the new regulation of explosives precursors, two new dangerous chemicals – sulphuric acid and ammonium nitrate – have been added to the list of substances banned from sale. Meanwhile authorities in Member States will be subject to more stringent regulation concerning the checks they must perform on the sale of restricted substances: members of the public applying for a licence to purchase restricted substances must now submit to a thorough security screening; and authorities must fully check the legitimacy of the request.
Romanian Minister of Economy Niculae Bădălău said: “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.”
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Terrorists and criminals will find it much harder to get their hands on dangerous chemicals to produce homemade bombs or money to fuel their crimes. I am glad to see that the Security Union we have been building over the past 5 years is progressing steadily and that we are closing the most pertinent security loopholes.”
The Council also adopted new measures governing the sharing of financial information across Member States’ borders, aimed at preventing the financing of terrorist activity. The new rules commit authorities to engaging in close co-operation between Member States and providing timely access to banking information, while adhering to the EU’s data protection laws. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “Following the money is one of the most effective ways to fight organised crime and terrorism. Our law enforcement authorities gain an important tool to get financial information quickly to improve security of our citizens and serve justice.”
Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: “The adoption of these two measures marks an important step forward in closing down the space in which terrorists operate – making it harder for them to obtain the chemicals needed to make home-made explosives, while making it easier for law enforcement to tackle terrorist financing. It is important that Member States now fully implement these measures as quickly as possible.”