On 18 April 2008, the Council of the European Union adopted the EU Action Plan on Enhancing the Security of Explosives
The Action Plan is based on the Commission’s Communication of 6 November 2007 on enhancing the security of explosives and has been adopted following intensive negotiations between the Member States and the Commission.
On 25 March 2004, in the immediate aftermath of the Madrid attacks, the European Council, in its Declaration on Combating Terrorism, established as a priority the need “to ensure terrorist organisations and groups are starved of the components of their trade”. The European Council noted in particular that “there is a need to ensure greater security of firearms, explosives, bomb-making equipment and technologies”. In response, a policy on enhancing the security of explosives started to be developed. One of the key measures undertaken was the setting up of an Explosives Security Experts Task Force (ESETF), composed of private and public sector representatives, with a view to preparing recommendations for actions in the explosives security field. The ESETF completed its work in June 2007 with the identification of 50 recommendations for actions. These recommendations form the basis for the Action Plan.
Structure of the Action Plan
The Action Plan is built on:
– Three pillars: prevention, detection and response containing specific measures on explosive precursors, the supply chain (storage, transport, traceability) and detection.
– A horizontal set of measures concerning public security which complement and consolidate the three pillars.
The Action Plan contains 48 specific actions under the horizontal, prevention, detection and response headings, along with deadlines for their implementation. If it is possible that a particular action could have significant economic consequences, the implementation of that action will depend on further feasibility work.
– The European Bomb Data System will constitute a common EU system enabling authorised governmental bodies at EU and Member States level to have 24/7 access to relevant information on incidents involving explosive devices. The system should be setup by Europol with certain funding provided by the Commission (it is part of the Crime Prevention Annual Work Programme 2008).
– The Early Warning System on Explosives (EWS) would link public security authorities of the Member States and Europol. It would provide for early warnings on such issues as:
* Immediate threats
* Theft of explosives
* Theft of detonators
* Theft of precursors
* Suspicious transactions
* Discovery of new modi operandi
The EWS could be built on the existing system functioning between the G6 states. The Commission could provide funding for the extension of the G6 network to all Member States.
Funding will be made available for measures falling under the Action Plan by way of two programmes:
– The Prevention of and Fight against Crime programme;
– The 7th Framework Research Programme