In the wake of the London bombings the EU is stepping up controls on explosives and fertilisers which can be used to make bombs. The European Commission wants explosives to be tagged to make them traceable, better security at storage sites, and better scrutiny during transport. Certain chemicals should also be reformulated to make them more detectable, it recommends. Trade in military explosives also pose a problem as these are unmarked and harder to detect, and illegal trading in these by criminals had to be tackled “head-on”. Commission spokesman Johnathan Todd;
“It proposes new procedures to control the purchase of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, making it subject to authorisation procedures, under which it could only be sold to authorized persons and must be only used for agricultural purposes, and companies responsible would have to notify suspicious transactions” Commercial explosives used in the construction industry are stolen more often than you might think, and regularly seized by police forces across Europe. Some does get through the net, often with deadly consequences. In the last few years French explosives stolen in Britanny, for example, turned up 1000 kilometres away in Spain, destined for use by Basque terrorists ETA.
Better police co-operation, with cross-border operations and stiffer border controls with Europol co-ordinating is one suggestion, especially as while the Schengen agreement makes travel easy and checks-free between several member states, their police officers do not have the same freedom of movement.