Retrait du Royaume-Uni de l’Union européenne et manipulation d’explosifs
NOTICE TO STAKEHOLDERS
WITHDRAWAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND EU RULES IN THE FIELD OF EXPLOSIVES
FOR CIVIL USE AND EXPLOSIVES PRECURSORS
Since 1 February 2020, the United Kingdom has withdrawn from the European Union
and has become a “third country”.
1 The Withdrawal Agreement2
provides for a transition
period ending on 31 December 2020. Until that date, EU law in its entirety applies to and
in the United Kingdom.3
During the transition period, the EU and the United Kingdom will negotiate an
agreement on a new partnership, providing notably for a free trade area. However, it is
not certain whether such an agreement will be concluded and will enter into force at the
end of the transition period. In any event, such an agreement would create a relationship
which in terms of market access conditions will be very different from the United
Kingdom’s participation in the internal market,4
in the EU Customs Union, and in the
VAT and excise duty area.
Therefore, all interested parties, and especially economic operators, are reminded of the
legal situation applicable after the end of the transition period (Part A below). This notice
also explains certain relevant separation provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement (Part B
below), as well as the rules applicable in Northern Ireland after the end of the transition
period (Part C below).
Advice to stakeholders:
To address the consequences set out in this notice, stakeholders are in particular advised
1 A third country is a country not member of the EU.
2 Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the
European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, OJ L 29, 31.1.2020, p. 7 (“Withdrawal
3 Subject to certain exceptions provided for in Article 127 of the Withdrawal Agreement, none of which
is relevant in the context of this notice.
In particular, a free trade agreement does not provide for internal market concepts (in the area of goods
and services) such as mutual recognition, the “country of origin principle”, and harmonisation. Nor
does a free trade agreement remove customs formalities and controls, including those concerning the
origin of goods and their input, as well as prohibitions and restrictions for imports and exports.
− ensure certification by an EU notified body;
− ensure compliance with obligations for importers;
− ensure that transfers of explosives within the EU are approved by the competent
authority in the Member State of the consignee;
− adapt product marking and labelling, where necessary; and
− ensure compliance with the prohibitions and restrictions on the marketing and use of
explosives precursors by the general public.
This notice does not address customs procedures for import or export. For these aspects,
other notices are in preparation or have been published.5
In addition, attention is drawn to the more generic notice on prohibitions and restrictions,
including import/export licences.
A. LEGAL SITUATION AFTER THE END OF THE TRANSITION PERIOD
After the end of the transition period, EU rules in the field of explosives for civil uses6
and EU rules in relation to explosives precursors7 8
no longer apply to the United
Kingdom.9 This has in particular the following consequences:
1. EXPLOSIVES FOR CIVIL USES
1.1. Obligations of importers, conformity assessment procedures and notified
The Notice to stakeholders – Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU
rules in the field of industrial products10 is also relevant for the EU rules on
6 Directive 2014/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the
harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market and
supervision of explosives for civil uses, OJ L 96, 29.3.2014, p. 1.
7 Regulation (EU) No 98/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2013 on the
marketing and use of explosives precursors, OJ L 39, 9.2.2013, p. 1.
8 As of 1 February 2021, Regulation (EU) 2019/1148 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors
will apply and replaces Regulation (EU) No 98/2013, cf. Regulation (EU) 2019/1148 of the European
Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, OJ
L 186, 11.7.2019, p. 1.
9 Regarding the applicability of this legislation to Northern Ireland, see Part C of this notice.
explosives for civil uses. This holds in particular for the requirement to hold a
certificate issued by an EU notified body after the end of the transition period
and for the identification of economic operators. An economic operator
established in the EU receiving explosives for civil uses from the United
Kingdom who, prior to the end of the transition period, was considered an EU
distributor will become an importer for the purpose of Directive 2014/28/EU..
1.2. Marking of explosives for civil uses
According to Article 3(1) of Commission Directive 2008/43/EC setting up a
system for the identification and traceability of explosives for civil uses,
applicable by virtue of Article 51(3) of Directive 2014/28/EU, explosives
manufactured or imported are to be marked with a unique identification.
According to the second subparagraph of Article 3(5) of Directive
2008/43/EC, where a manufacturing site is located outside the EU and the
manufacturer is not established in the EU, the importer is to contact the
Member State of import in order for the manufacturing site to be attributed a
After the end of the transition period, manufacturing sites in the United
Kingdom will be identified as located outside the Union and will require a
code to be attributed by the national authority of the EU Member State of
According to Article 3(2) of Directive 2008/43/EC, where explosives for civil
uses are manufactured in the EU for export, a unique identification mark is
not required if the importing third country requires an identification which
allows traceability of the explosives. The question whether, after the end of
the transition period, this exception applies for explosives for civil uses
manufactured in the EU for export to the United Kingdom will depend on
whether the United Kingdom will have, after the end of the transition period,
national identification requirements in place.
1.3. Transfers of explosives for civil uses
According to Article 11(2) of Directive 2014/28/EU, transfers12 of explosives
are to be approved by the competent authority in the Member State of the
After the end of the transition period, a shipment of explosives for civil uses
to, from and through the United Kingdom is no longer an intra-EU transfer.
Rather, these shipments will be imports and exports respectively.
Approvals for transfers granted by the competent authority of the United
Kingdom under Article 11(2) of Directive 2014/28/EU before the end of the
transition period are no longer valid after the end of the transition period.
11 OJ L 94, 5.4.2008, p. 8.
12 Transfers are physical movements of explosives within the Union, cf. Article 2(6) of Directive
2. EXPLOSIVES PRECURSORS
2.1. Prohibition to import by the general public: licences
After the end of the transition period, the introduction by members of the
general public of certain explosives precursors from the United Kingdom to
the EU is prohibited and only allowed under certain circumstances as laid
down in Regulation (EU) No 98/2013 and, as of 1 February 2021, Regulation
That Regulation continues to prohibit the introduction, possession or use of
certain explosives precursors by the general public. If the national law of a
Member State so provides, a member of the general public can apply for a
licence pursuant to Article 6(1) of Regulation (EU) 2019/1148 for acquiring,
introducing, possessing or using certain explosives precursors. The list of
explosives precursors that are subject to these restrictions can be found in
Annex I to the Regulation. A Member State may recognise licences issued by
other Member States.
These restrictions only apply to a member of the general public, which means
any natural or legal person who is acting for purposes not connected with that
person’s trade, business, or profession. The prohibition of importing
explosives precursors therefore does not apply to professional users and
2.2. Obligations on economic operators and online marketplaces
Regulation (EU) No 98/2013 sets out several obligations on economic
operators, including the duty to detect and report suspicious transactions of
explosives precursors. The obligation to detect and report suspicious
transactions of explosives precursors remains under Regulation (EU)
2019/1148, and is explicitly extended to online marketplaces as well.14
Insofar as UK-based economic operators make available regulated explosives
precursors in the EU, and insofar as online marketplaces provide services to
make available regulated explosives precursors in the EU, they are bound by
these rules as well. The Commission has adopted guidelines15 to facilitate the
implementation of Regulation (EU) 2019/1148.
B. RELEVANT SEPARATION PROVISIONS OF THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT
1. EXPLOSIVES FOR CIVIL USE PLACED ON THE MARKET
Article 41(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement provides that an existing and
individually identifiable good lawfully placed on the market in the EU or the United
13 Article 6(7) of Regulation (EU) 2019/1148.
14 Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) 2019/1148.
15 Commission Notice – Guidelines for the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2019/1148 on the
marketing and use explosives precursors C/2020/3756, OJ C 210, 24.6.2020, p. 63.
Kingdom before the end of the transition period may be further made available on
the market of the EU or of the United Kingdom and circulate between these two
markets until it reaches its end-user.
The economic operator relying on that provision bears the burden of proof of
demonstrating on the basis of any relevant document that the good was placed on
the market in the EU or the United Kingdom before the end of the transition
For the purposes of that provision, “placing on the market” means the first supply of
a good for distribution, consumption or use on the market in the course of a
commercial activity, whether in return for payment or free of charge.17
“Supply of a
good for distribution, consumption or use” means that “an existing and individually
identifiable good, after the stage of manufacturing has taken place, is the subject
matter of a written or verbal agreement between two or more legal or natural
persons for the transfer of ownership, any other property right, or possession
concerning the good in question, or is the subject matter of an offer to a legal or
natural person or persons to conclude such an agreement.”18
Example: An individual explosive for civil uses marked with a unique
identification attributed by the national authority of the United Kingdom sold by the
UK-based manufacturer to a UK-based wholesaler before the end of the transition
period can still be sold into the EU after the end of the transition period without the
need for re-labelling.
As regards on-site mixed explosives, the manufacturing end stage is only the
moment of in situ production. Any explosives not already “produced in situ” before
the end of the transition period therefore need to be assessed again by an EU
2. ONGOING MOVEMENTS OF EXPLOSIVES PRECURSORS
Article 47(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement provides that, under the conditions set
out therein, movements of goods ongoing at the end of the transition period are to be
treated as intra-Union movements regarding importation and exportation licencing
requirements in EU law.
Example: A specific consignment of explosives precursors, the movement of which
is ongoing between the EU and the United Kingdom at the end of the transition
period can still enter the EU or the United Kingdom as if it was a movement between
two Member States, i.e. not requiring introduction licence.
16 Article 42 of the Withdrawal Agreement.
17 Article 40(a) and (b) of the Withdrawal Agreement.
18 Article 40(c) of the Withdrawal Agreement.
C. APPLICABLE RULES IN NORTHERN IRELAND AFTER THE END OF THE TRANSITION
After the end of the transition period, the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland (“IE/NI
Protocol”) applies.19 The IE/NI Protocol is subject to periodic consent of the Northern
Ireland Legislative Assembly, the initial period of application extending to 4 years after
the end of the transition period.20
The IE/NI Protocol makes certain provisions of EU law applicable also to and in the
United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland. In the IE/NI Protocol, the EU and the
United Kingdom have furthermore agreed that insofar as EU rules apply to and in the
United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland is treated as if it were a
The IE/NI Protocol provides that Directive 2014/28/EU and Regulation (EU) 2019/1148
apply to and in the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland.22
This means that references to the EU in Parts A and B of this notice have to be
understood as including Northern Ireland, whereas references to the United Kingdom
have to be understood as referring only to Great Britain.
More specifically, this means inter alia the following:
Explosives for civil use placed on the market or used for their own purposes by
manufacturers of Northern Ireland have to comply with the respective provisions
of Directive 2014/28/EU;
An explosive for civil uses/explosives precursor shipped to Northern Ireland from
a third country or from Great Britain is an import/introduction for the purposes of
Directive 2014/28/EU, Regulation (EU) No 98/2013, and Regulation (EU)
An explosive for civil uses manufactured in Northern Ireland for export to Great
Britain shall be marked with a unique identification, unless Great Britain requires
an identification which allows traceability of the explosive as per Article 3(2) of
The importer and the authorised representative may be established in Northern
Ireland for the purposes of Directive 2014/28/EU;
Where provisions of Union law require a unique code indicating a Member State,
it is to be indicated as “UK(NI)”;
19 Article 185 of the Withdrawal Agreement.
20 Article 18 of the IE/NI Protocol.
21 Article 7(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement in conjunction with Article 13(1) of the IE/NI Protocol.
22 Article 5(4) of the IE/NI Protocol and section 19 of annex 2 to that Protocol.
23 Article 7(2) of the IE/NI Protocol. Technical constraints, usually linked to databases, may require the
country code to be limited to two digits. In this case, a non-attributed combination of digits should be
Certificates of conformity issued by a Notified Body in the EU are valid in
Certificates of conformity issued by a conformity assessment body in Great
Britain are not valid in Northern Ireland.
However, the IE/NI Protocol excludes the possibility for the United Kingdom in respect
of Northern Ireland to
participate in the decision-making and decision-shaping of the Union;24
initiate objections, safeguard or arbitration procedures to the extent that they
concern regulations, standards, assessments, registrations, certificates, approvals
and authorisations issued or carried out by EU Member States; 25
invoke the country of origin principle or mutual recognition for activities
performed by authorities or bodies established in the United Kingdom.26
More specifically, this last point means inter alia the following:
Certificates of conformity issued by Notified Bodies in Northern Ireland are valid
only in Northern Ireland. These certificates and reports are not valid in the EU.27
Where explosives for civil use are certified by a Notified Body in Northern
Ireland, the indication “UK(NI)” must be affixed next to the “CE” marking.28
This distinct marking allows the identification of explosives for civil use which
can be legally placed on the market in Northern Ireland, but not in the EU.
a licence under Article 6(1) of Regulation (EU) 2019/1148 issued by the United
Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland is not recognised in an EU Member State.
The website of the Commission on the EU legislation on explosives for civil uses
(https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/chemicals/legislation_en#explosives) and explosives
precursors (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/counterterrorism/protection/implementation-explosives-precursors-legislation_en) provide for
general information. These pages will be updated with further information, where