Brussels, 18 September 2008
Today the Commission adopted a Communication on "An EU Drugs Action Plan for 2009-2012". The Commission proposes wide-ranging measures to strengthen European cooperation to curb the adverse consequences of drug use and reduce the crime related to it. The Action Plan is grouped around five priorities covering actions to reduce the demand for drugs, to reduce the supply of drugs, to improve international cooperation and to improve understanding of the drugs phenomenon. Vice-President Barrot, responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security also calls on government bodies, public services and voluntary organisations to work in partnership to prevent and reduce the harm caused by drugs in our society and proposes to draw up a European Alliance on Drugs in consultation with all interested parties.
Political Framework: EU Drugs Strategy 2005-2012
The EU Member States are the main actors in the drugs field, and drug legislation is primarily a matter of national competence. However, the Treaties explicitly acknowledge the need to deal with drug issues at EU level, in particular in the fields of justice and home affairs and public health.
The proposed Action Plan is the second of two consecutive Action Plans aimed to implement the EU Drugs Strategy 2005-2012, which was endorsed by the Council in 2004. The Strategy was an integral part of the multi-annual programme ‘The Hague Programme for strengthening freedom, security and justice in the EU’. It is based first and foremost on the fundamental principles of EU law and upholds the founding values of the Union: respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and human rights. It aims to protect and improve the well-being of society and of the individual, to protect public health, to ensure for the general public a high level of security and to take a balanced, integrated approach to the drugs problem.
The Strategy sets the framework, objectives and priorities for all drug-related activities in the EU. The first of these Action Plans, the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2005-2008), was endorsed by the Council on 8 July 2005. The evaluation report of this first EU Drugs Action Plan can be found in annex to the Communication.
The Communication: EU Action Plan on Drugs 2009-2012
The EU Drugs Action Plan 2009-2012 has two main pillars, drug demand and drug supply reduction, and three cross cutting themes, including coordination, international cooperation and information, research and evaluation. For each of these five policy fields, priorities have been formulated:
This includes measures to improve the effectiveness of prevention, treatment and harm reduction. Particular attention should be paid to vulnerable people and the prevention of poly-drug use (combined use of illicit and licit substances, in particular alcohol).
The Commission proposes to launch a process of consultation with the Member States and European civil society to work towards the acceptance of a European Citizens' Alliance on Drugs. Such a charter would contain a commitment and a set of principles to guide citizens to deal with drug-related issues as they may arise in their immediate environment. This European Citizens' Alliance on Drugs would aim at raising awareness on the risks of drug taking and support best practices in this field.
Initiatives to strengthen the effectiveness of law enforcement in the EU to counter drug production and trafficking such as: making full use of the capacities of Europol and other EU structures, based on an intelligence-led approach. More coordinated operations via regional security platforms should be supported.
The effectiveness of EU, the world's major donor in the global fight against drugs and in the struggle for more sustainable solutions to drug cultivation, would benefit greatly from better coordination of national and Community policies.
We need to increase our knowledge of all aspects of drug use through more and better coordinated research and data; including data on drug-related crime and on the way the illicit drug market works.
Final Evaluation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2005-2008
The Commission Communication is accompanied by an evaluation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2005-2008 carried out by the Commission with the support of the Member States, the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Europol, and European NGO networks represented in the Civil Society Forum.
The evaluation showed that objectives of the Action Plan have been translated in national policy, and/ or were already reflected in existing policy documents. Member States’ drug policies are converging and there is a shift towards underpinning national policies with action plans. The evaluation suggests that the Action Plan has initiated a broad range of activities and cooperation. On practically all the specific objectives and actions progress has been made, though with varying degrees of success.
The evaluation shows that the objectives of the current Action Plan haves been partly achieved:
Following discussion with the Member States, the European Council will be invited to endorse the EU Drugs Action Plan 2009-2012 by December 2008.
 Title VI, Articles 29 and 31(1)(e), TEU.
 Article 152 TEC: ‘The Community shall complement the Member States’ action in reducing drugs-related health damage, including information and prevention.’
 COM(2005) 184 final, 10.5.2005.
 OJ C 168, 8.7.2005.
 Commission Staff Working Paper attached in Annex 1.
 EMCDDA Annual Report 2007
 EMCDDA Annual Report 2007.
 Note: figures for new treatment demand concern new clients getting into treatment in the given year of reporting. The number does not reflect the total number of clients in treatment.
 Data not available for Bulgaria & Romania
 Data not available for Bulgaria & Romania