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Drug precursors: external aspects
This regulation aims to strengthen controls on imports, exports and transits of chemical substances used for the manufacture of illicit synthetic drugs, including amphetamine-type stimulants such as ecstasy. Its purpose is to address the increasing threat posed by the manufacture of synthetic drugs in western Europe by preventing the diversion of these substances.
Council Regulation (EC) No 111/2005 of 22 December 2004 laying down rules for the monitoring of trade between the Community and third countries in drug precursors.
This regulation lays down rules for the monitoring of trade in precursor drugs between the European Union (EU) and non-EU countries. Drug precursors refer to substances used for the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The regulation applies to imports, exports and transit of drug precursors with a view to preventing their diversion.
The aim of current legislation in this area is to apply Article 12 of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, adopted in Vienna on 19 December 1988, which concerns trade in such substances.
Historically, the EU has been a significant exporter of precursors and an importer of illicitly manufactured drugs. Recently, the EU has also become one of the leading exporters of illicitly manufactured synthetic drugs and an importer of the precursors needed to manufacture them. Consequently, the provisions relating to the application for a licence to import or export drug precursors, the granting or refusal of such a licence and its suspension or revocation must be harmonised at EU level.
Given the magnitude of the trade in precursor drugs, current legislation in this area must be modernised. The new procedures are aimed at the most sensitive drug precursors so as not to place an excessive administrative burden on legitimate importers.
The purpose of this regulation is to:
- introduce import and export authorisation requirements for the drug precursors concerned;
- require all operators to label and properly document drug precursors;
- require that all operators be licensed;
- make sure that all drug precursor consignments are inspected in the EU;
- strengthen import and export controls;
- conduct special controls at EU level in areas where the risk of diversion is high, such as free zones and transhipment zones.
The import, export and transit of a substance listed in the annex to this regulation must be documented in such a way as to disclose the name of the substance, its quantity and weight, and the name and address of the exporter, importer, distributor and the ultimate consignee. The operators concerned must keep records of all transactions for a period of three years.
These operators must be licensed and registered as such by the competent authorities of the country in which they are established.
EU countries are responsible for establishing cooperation between operators and the competent authorities to enable the latter to prevent diversions from occurring. To this end, operators must transmit to the competent authorities all relevant information and notify them of all transactions involving scheduled substances.
In addition, operators must lodge an application for an import or export authorisation in respect of each transaction with the competent authorities of the EU country in which the importer or exporter is established. Applications for authorisations must contain full information on the transport arrangements, the name and address of all operators involved, and the nature, quantity and weight of the substance. The competent authorities must reach a decision within 15 working days from the completion of the application file.
If there are grounds for suspecting that diversion might occur, the competent authorities may refuse the import or export of the substance.
A similar procedure applies to non-EU countries having requested the Commission to inform them of any export of substances that concerns them or that have concluded an agreement with the EU on the issuing of import authorisations. A specific procedure applies to countries identified as sensitive as regards the possible diversion of certain scheduled substances.
EU countries are responsible for providing their competent authorities with the means to obtain information and conduct enquiries in order to prevent diversion from occurring.
Mutual assistance and confidentiality between the administrations of EU countries is essential. EU countries determine appropriate penalties for infringements. Each year they communicate to the Commission the results of their monitoring measures, on the basis of which the Commission draws up an annual report to be submitted to the International Narcotics Control Board.
The Commission prepares guidelines for the chemical industry. These will include information on how to recognise and report suspicious transactions and an updated list of non-scheduled substances used to illicitly manufacture narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
Following the adoption of the 2000-04 EU action plan on drugs, the Commission organised an assessment of the control system of trade in drug precursors. It considered it necessary to extend monitoring requirements to operators trading with non-EU countries, to introduce a common approach to procedures for granting licences and to strengthen customs monitoring requirements. Consequently, this regulation replaces Regulation (EEC) No 3677/90, which originally laid down measures to discourage the diversion of drug precursors.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 111/2005||
OJ L 22 of 26.1.2005