Action plan to combat drugs (1995-1999)
Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on a European Union Action Plan to combat drugs (1996-2000) [COM(94) 234 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
A global multi-annual (1996-2000) action plan under which the Union will implement a global strategy to combat drugs, aimed at reducing demand, combating illicit drug trafficking and taking action against non-member countries involved in the production and transit of drugs.
This plan is an extension of the first two European plans preceding the entry into force of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which were approved by the European Councils in Rome (December 1990) and Edinburgh (December 1992).
The structure of the Action Plan is as follows:
a) Reducing demand
Pursuant to Article 152 (formerly Article 129) of the TEU, the Community action programme on drug addiction aims to encourage and facilitate activities involving high-risk groups in particular situations, to promote the identification, development, testing and use of the best methods to ensure the dissemination of information, to promote education and training initiatives with the aim of developing strategies for prevention, to support work on early detection and on advice for drug users and to promote social rehabilitation and reintegration.
b) Combating trafficking
The new action plan proposes to develop and consolidate existing Community legislation and to implement Title VI of the TEU. Results have been obtained at Community level as a result on the one hand of measures carried out in combating the diversion of precursors and psychotropic substances and, on the other, of the Directive on "money laundering". The Commission advocates reinforcing this activity by using existing instruments (development of electronic mail networks to speed up the exchange of information, etc.), by promoting cooperation with non-member countries (taking Community legislation and other international agreements as a model) and by assessing the practical implementation of these measures.
Title VI (cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs) introduces a new obligation for Member States of the Union to cooperate on matters of common interest in judicial, customs and police affairs (Article K.1.7, 8) and 9)). EUROPOL, once established, is to focus its activity initially on combating drug trafficking.
Pursuant to Article K.1.4, aimed at combating drug addiction, the Commission is formulating suggestions with a view to complementing measures currently in progress, namely:
- interdisciplinary exchanges between professionals and organisations responsible for reducing drug supply and demand;
- establishment of a European forum for inter-city exchanges and cooperation;
- cooperation in the area of the relationship between drugs and criminality.
c. International measures
The EU is to supplement its action plan by initiatives outside the Union, making use of Community instruments and of the new opportunities offered by the CFSP (common foreign and security policy). At Community level, measures should involve the following areas:
- continued EU participation in international efforts (UN international drug monitoring programme, the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, etc);
- at the bilateral level, reinforcing national and regional strategies in cooperation witih certain countries or regions representing a particular risk due to their proximity to the Union;
- development of cooperation by including clauses relating to combating drugs in EU agreements with non-member countries;
- including cooperation in combating drugs among the priorities in terms of commercial and development policy (e.g. recourse to GSP or the Lomé Convention).
The CFSP will enable the EU to lend its political and diplomatic weight to commercial and development cooperation mechanisms already in place. In addition, the Council has identified the combating of illicit drug trafficking as an appropriate field for joint action, targeting the Maghreb and the Middle East as priority areas in this context. The Communication suggests that action under the CFSP may take the form of joint positions intended to ensure increased international cooperation and joint measures intended to support Community efforts aimed at strengthening the ability of non-member countries to play a full part in combating drugs.
The Communication stresses the importance of maintaining and improving coordination at both Member State and EU level, particularly in the following contexts:
- Coordination within and between Member States (national coordinators and the Permanent Representatives' Committee ought to have an important role to play);
- The European Drugs Monitoring Centre in Lisbon will be able to contribute to the political decision-making process through its important role in information and analysis, in liaison with its associated network of national centres;
- Multidisciplinary aspects (information, research and training are considered priorities).
5) FOLLOW-UP WORK
Communication of 26 May 1999 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, on a European Union Action Plan to Combat Drugs ( 2000-2004 ) [COM(1999) 239 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
Following on from the European Councils in Cardiff (June 1998) and Vienna (December 1998), the Commission and the Parliament have been called on to draw up a new, comprehensive anti-drug strategy to replace the 1995-1999 action plan.