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European Commission


Brussels, 20 November 2012

Commission welcomes European Parliament's support for common rules to prevent home-made bombs

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, welcomes today's vote in the European Parliament on a new legislation to restrict open access to chemicals that can be used to make explosives.

The European Parliament voted in a first reading (595 for, 12 against and 14 abstentions) to support the Commission's proposal (IP/10/1144 and MEMO/10/428) to ensure the same level of control over access to certain chemicals in the whole EU.

The plenary vote paves the way for a formal adoption by the Council in December so that the Directive can become law.

Commissioner Malmström said: "Today, it is simply too easy to become a bomb maker in Europe. We know that home-made explosives are frequently used by terrorists and organised crime, since dangerous chemicals are freely available for purchase. We must do more to detect lone-wolves who mastermind terror from their homes, using these common agricultural and household substances. We must restrict access to high concentrations of dangerous chemicals, both for over-the-counter purchases and via online stores.

This new EU legislation will ensure that Member States have the same degree of control over these chemicals, preventing terrorists and criminals from taking advantage of legal loopholes. The EU can only be as secure as its weakest link.

The legislation will require buyers to get a license in order to buy large quantities, and that such purchases must be reported to the authorities. Some substances, such as hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid and nitromethane – commonly used as fertilisers or swimming pool cleaners - will be banned for the general public above a certain concentration level. The concentration of others will have to be reduced.

Legislation is not a silver bullet against these crimes, but common rules for dangerous chemicals is an important step in the fight against home-grown terrorism and home-made bombs."

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