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Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004)

/* COM/2001/0301 final */
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52001DC0301

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) /* COM/2001/0301 final */


COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT on the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004)

1. Introduction

Tackling drugs is a top priority of the European Union in view of the continued high levels of drug misuse and trafficking and the damage caused to our societies through drug related crime, health problems and social exclusion. EU citizens also believe that tackling drugs should be a top priority for the EU.

Significant progress has been made recently with the endorsement of the EU Drug Strategy 2000-2004 at the Helsinki European Council. The Feira European Council translated the EU Drug Strategy into a detailed EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) which sets out clearly the actions to be taken over the next five years by the EU institutions and the Member States. The measures cover both demand and supply reduction, and emphasise the need for international cooperation and effective information, evaluation and coordination at all levels. The aims of the Strategy and the Action Plan are:

- to provide a guide to all actors in the EU when setting their priorities in the area of drugs over the next five years;

- to ensure that the issue of drugs receives the necessary high level support, despite its complicated and fragmented nature; and

- to provide a solid base for the evaluations, to be carried out at mid-term (2002) and on completion by the Commission, of the anti-drugs activity of the EU over this five year period.

The Strategy sets out eleven general aims and six main targets for the EU in this period [1], and examines some of the issues involved. The Action Plan translates the aims and targets set in the Strategy into roughly one hundred concrete activities that should be implemented over the period concerned in order to ensure the implementation of the Strategy.

[1] The eleven general aims of the Strategy are to: (a) ensure that drugs remains a top priority for the EU; (b) ensure that actions are evaluated; (c) continue the balanced approach to drugs; (d) give greater priority to drug prevention, demand reduction and the reduction of the adverse consequences of drug use; (e) reinforce the fight against drug trafficking and to step up police cooperation between Member States; (f) encourage multi-agency cooperation and the involvement of civil society; (g) use to the full the possibilities offered by the Amsterdam Treaty, particularly Article 31 e) on minimum rules on drug trafficking; (h) ensure collection and dissemination of reliable and comparable data on drugs in the EU; (i) progressively integrate the applicant countries and to intensify international cooperation; (j) promote international cooperation, based on the UNGASS principles; and (k) emphasise that implementation of the strategy will require appropriate resources.

The objective of the Communication, which is based on contributions from the Commission, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and EUROPOL, is to ensure that the European Union will be able to meet the ambitious challenges in the Action Plan on Drugs within the timeframe. In particular the Communication:

(i) proposes a tool in the form of a Follow-up Table for the review of progress in the implementation of the Action Plan;

(ii) outlines the method by which the Commission intends to carry out the evaluations of the Drugs Strategy and Action Plan;

(iii) outlines how the Commission intends to ensure that the applicant countries deal as effectively as possible with the problem of drugs and proposes that the Commission should maintain a database of all EU activities, funded by the Commission or Member States in applicant countries;

(iv) suggests that the EU should examine how best to reinforce the exchange of information on projects in non-applicant countries. This information should form the basis for the annual discussions on drugs-related international cooperation; and

(v) examines ways of improving coordination at EU level.

2. Review of progress in the implementation of the EU-Action Plan on Drugs

The EU Action Plan on Drugs stresses the need for a global, multidisciplinary and integrated response based on the following four key elements: (i) demand reduction, (ii) supply reduction and the fight against illicit trafficking, (iii) international cooperation and (iv) coordination at national and Union level.

The Commission has drawn up a Follow-up Table (see Annex 1) in order to monitor whether the activities foreseen in the Action Plan are executed within the deadlines and to keep progress under review. The EMCDDA and EUROPOL have jointly contributed to this. For each activity in the Action Plan which requires action by the Commission, the EMCDDA or EUROPOL, the Follow-up Table records the state of play, the timeframe for action and the priority accorded to it.

In the Commission's view the Follow-up Table should be pursued in partnership with all actors concerned in order to enable monitoring of every action foreseen in the Action Plan. The Commission therefore encourages the other actors involved in the implementation of the Action Plan, in particular the Member States, to undertake a similar exercise. Once all the Follow-up Tables have been produced the Commission will consider how best to draw them together. The Commission favours presenting a single Follow-up Table based on the contributions from the Member States which would:

- provide a flexible instrument for the recording and evaluation of progress in implementation of the EU Action Plan;

- contribute to a better allocation of human and financial resources for an effective implementation of the Action Plan; and

- help all the actors prepare for the mid term and final evaluations.

3. Evaluation of the EU Strategy on Drugs

The Drugs Strategy and the Action Plan call on the Commission to organise an evaluation of the overall drug strategy and its impact. The EU Action Plan on Drugs identifies three stages to the evaluation:

- Stage 1: assessment of the level of achievement of the activities identified in the Action Plan;

- Stage 2: assessment of the extent to which achievement of the Action Plan met the objectives of the Drug Strategy; and

- Stage 3: assessment of the impact on the drugs situation, particularly in terms of the six main targets identified in the Strategy, of the actions undertaken under the Action Plan and the Strategy.

For the first stage, the adoption of common evaluation techniques and Follow-up Tables by all involved will allow the Commission to assess the progress made in achieving the actions identified in the Action Plan. The EMCDDA is developing common methodological tools for monitoring anti-drugs activities. It would be very helpful if all the actors involved used these EMCDDA tools when evaluating their anti-drugs activities, and when completing their Follow-Up Tables. This would ensure that the results from different actors within the EU were comparable. The Follow-Up Tables should be updated at regular intervals and in particular at mid-term and on completion of the Action Plan.

The second stage will require the Commission to compare the achievement of the actions in the Action Plan to the objectives of the Drug Strategy. This will allow an assessment of the extent to which the objectives of the Drugs Strategy have been met.

The third stage will assess the impact of the actions taken on the drugs situation, and in particular on the main targets identified in the Strategy. In order to consider whether these targets have been met the Commission will need to have information on drug demand and supply trends. This should be provided by the EMCDDA and EUROPOL.

The information on which the EMCDDA and its partners will concentrate their work over the next three years, in particular regarding the first three targets, is summarised in annex 2. Together the EMCDDA and EUROPOL launched, in line with point 2.2.2 of the Action Plan, two "impact evaluation criteria" working groups to identify, drawing on the expertise of Member States, criteria and techniques which could contribute to the final impact evaluation, and to ensure consistency between the evaluation efforts of the EMCDDA and EUROPOL. EUROPOL is working on drug-related crime statistics. The EMCDDA focussed its Work Programme 2001-2003 on monitoring changes in the drug situation through the establishment of a set of epidemiological indicators and relevant core data. In order to facilitate comparison at EU level the EMCDDA has already produced guidelines for the implementation in the Member States of the five key epidemiological indicators [2] which will be adopted by its Management Board in September 2001. The implementation of the key indicators will require strong commitment from the Member States, and should take place as quickly as possible.

[2] The key indicators are:

The Commission will try to take into account the views of other parties in this stage, but will of course assume the ultimate responsibility for the content of the evaluation. The objective will be to try to assess the impact of the implementation of the Drugs Strategy and the Action Plan on the drugs situation. On the basis of this assessment the Commission will consider whether to propose any modifications to future policy on drugs.

Finally, the Commission would like to inform its partners that, given the existing lack of reliable and comparable information on the epidemiological and criminal aspects of the drug problem in the EU, it intends to limit the evaluation at mid-term (ie in 2002) to the first stage identified above. EUROPOL and the EMCDDA should be in a position to provide this information by the end of the period of application of the Strategy and Action Plan, and so all three stages outlined above will be implemented in 2004.

4. Enlargement

The Commission considers stepping up of the fight against drugs in the applicant countries as a priority.

The Pre-accession Pact on Organised Crime, which noted the importance of information and operational co-operation, committed the EU and applicant countries (CEECs and Cyprus - the Pact should be extended to Malta and Turkey) to develop each year a common annual strategy with the assistance of Europol, in order to identify the most significant threats related to organised crime, including drugs crime.

The support to the applicant countries includes the integration of the 'acquis communautaire', the development of action plans and participation in the activities of the EMCDDA. Special attention will be given to co-operation with Turkey.

The EU Drugs strategy 2000-2004 put emphasis on the fight against drug abuse and trafficking in the applicant countries. The two main aims of the EU are to enable applicant countries to implement the drugs acquis, and to bring the EU and applicant countries into closer drugs cooperation. The Commission completely shares this approach.

The joint EU/applicant countries action plan on drugs should cover the full range of demand and supply issues and should facilitate work with each applicant country in order to monitor and evaluate anti-drugs programmes. The Commission underlines the need for complementarity between the action plan and the accession negotiations.

The Council adopted in March 2001 a decision allowing the Commission to negotiate the participation of the applicant countries in the REITOX network of the EMCDDA. The Commission considers the participation of the applicant countries in the EMCDDA a very important step in the integration of the drugs acquis and negotiations on this issue will be launched in mid-2001.

In total, EUR53 million have been committed under PHARE since 1992 in the area of drugs. At the end of 1999, the European Commission decided to integrate drug control into the PHARE National Programmes. Within this framework the Commission decided to provide a specific allocation of EUR1 million to each applicant country, with the aim of developing a specific drugs component. The main issues addressed in the 2000 PHARE national drugs projects are the institutionalisation of the national drugs information focal points in view of the future participation of the applicant countries in the activities of the EMCDDA and the strengthening of national drugs strategies and inter-ministerial coordination. Most projects are carried out as twinning projects.

A budget of EUR2 million has been allocated from the 1998 Phare Multi-beneficiary Drugs Programme to a joint EMCDDA/CEEC project to allow the EMCDDA to assist directly the applicant countries in preparation of their participation in the tasks of the Centre.

Furthermore, the Commission decided to set aside EUR10 million to implement the 2000 Phare Multi-beneficary Drugs Programme which is aimed at strengthening the capacities for and increasing the effectiveness of regional co-operation in the supply reduction area between the applicant countries and the EU Member States, notably for the fight against synthetic drugs, strengthening law enforcement cooperation and money laundering. The Commission will also look for financing for anti-drugs cooperation with the applicant countries not covered by the PHARE programme (Malta, Cyprus and Turkey). The Commission intends in particular to strengthen its cooperation with Turkey, and intends to begin soon negotiations on an agreement between the EU and Turkey to help prevent the diversion of chemical precursors.

In order to avoid duplication and lacunae in drugs assistance to the applicant countries, the Commission proposes to establish a database of all assistance projects financed by the Member States or the Commission in the applicant countries, on the basis of information provided by the Member States on a regular basis.

5. External Action

The Commission regards international co-operation as a key element in the fight against drugs. In this area, the Commission will give particular importance to the main trafficking routes supplying the EU.

The Commission currently has drugs-related projects in 100 countries with a total value of more than EUR100 million. The projects cover a wide range of activities, including prevention, treatment, social and professional reinsertion for drug users, epidemiology, alternative development, controls on chemical precursors, customs and police co-operation, institutional support for the development of national policies, money laundering, and drafting new legislation.

As indicated in the Action Plan, the Commission will concentrate its efforts on production and transit countries, and in particular on the two main trafficking routes to the EU: the heroin route from Afghanistan to the EU via Central Asia, Iran, Caucasus, Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Balkans; and the cocaine route from Latin America via the Caribbean. As foreseen in the reform of the external aid, the allocation of resources for drugs-related activities will be included in the multi-annual programmes. This programming will take into account the need for a global approach for each trafficking route.

Focusing on the two main trafficking routes in this way will give the Commission a coherent approach and will allow it to concentrate its efforts in the field of supply reduction on the main routes supplying more than 80 percent of the illicit drugs in Europe.

On the cocaine route, the Commission has already launched important programmes: EUR20 million for the Barbados Plan and EUR60 million for alternative development projects in Peru and Bolivia. The emphasis on alternative development which involves comprehensive efforts to facilitate modes of livelihood that are alternative to drug production and trafficking, makes EU external activity on drugs distinct from those of other partners. As far as Colombia is concerned, the Commission intends to be a key actor in the support for the peace-process, and pledged, within the framework of a comprehensive EU aid package, an amount of EUR105 million for this purpose. Out of this amount, EUR30 million will be devoted to the support for alternative development programmes. On a regional basis, the Commission is also supporting several initiatives for the benefit of the Andean countries, in the fields of money laundering, precursor control and harmonisation of legislation. In the last years, nine Latin American countries received a Commission support for prevention projects for about EUR2 million The latest Community initiative was to assist the Venezuela Government in order to create a National Monitoring Centre on drugs (EUR2 million). In addition, one may recall that to support to their efforts in combating drugs, the Andean and Central American countries receive special treatment within the framework of the Generalised System of Preferences (Drugs GSP). Together with the MFN clause, this treatment ensures up to 80% of the Andean exports duty-free access to the EU market. The EU, the US and the UNDCP co-operate closely in the implementation of the Barbados Plan of Action which addresses the issue of drugs in the Caribbean.

On the heroin route a series of actions have already started in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Turkey, aiming at achieving a "filter system" between Afghanistan and Western Europe. They will be developed through additional programmes addressing both supply reduction and demand reduction. The EU Action Plan on Drugs for Central Asia should be signed in the near future and will provide a framework for the drugs-related activities for the whole EU in this region. The EU is also aware of the problems posed to India by the close proximity to Afghanistan and Myanmar, the two biggest producers of illicit heroin, Afghanistan and Myanmar, and of the need for further co-operation. Furthermore, the drugs issue is also discussed within the partnership and co-operation dialogue with Russia, Ukraine and Moldova, notably in the context of justice and home affairs developments. The Common Strategies on the Russian Federation and Ukraine as well as the European Union Action Plan on a Common Action for the Russian Federation on Combating Organised Crime stress, inter alia, the common interest in promoting co-operation in the fight against drug trafficking. Currently, the development of a European Union Action Plan on Justice and Home Affairs for Ukraine is under consideration. Recently, several activities to support the efforts of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine to deal with the drugs challenge have been identified and are in the pipeline for implementation. In Iran, projects are being prepared in partnership with UNDCP to support the important Iranian efforts in the fight against drug abuse and drug trafficking. Cooperation with Turkey will take place in the framework of enlargement. In the Balkans, the implementation of the CARDS programme in Justice and Home Affairs matters will consider drugs, and in particular drug smuggling, as a key priority that will be addressed first by enhancing the overall crime fighting capacity (legal, investigative, judicial in each country and regional co-operation) and second by giving specialized training on drugs including supporting a drug-related regional intelligence network."

As regards the Mediterranean area, one should mention the cannabis route which principally links Morocco as the main producing country and cannabis exporter, and the EU where cannabis remains the most widely available and most commonly used drug.

In the field of money laundering, the Commission supports with the US and UK in the framework of the Barbados Plan of Action a EUR8 million programme in the Caribbean. It has also recently launched a programme for South East Asia. Finally, preparatory work on a new programme for Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Kazakhstan is well advanced.

The political dialogue that the EU maintains with many regional and sub-regional groups (including Latin America, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and various Asian partners) illustrates the firm willingness of the EU to put forth its views on drugs. Particularly important in this regard are the specialised dialogue on drugs with the Andean countries and the coordination and cooperation mechanism on drugs between the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Commission will continue to mobilise EU expertise to reinforce the European identity of the EU's external drug-related action and to support the development of relations between third countries and the EU.

The Commission is one of the major donors of UNDCP and will continue to cooperate with all competent UN agencies in the field of drugs, as well as with other donors. A new area of cooperation with the US concerns synthetic drugs.

Regarding the monitoring of drug addiction, the Commission will regard as a specific priority the development of indicators and methodologies appropriate to less developed countries.

The implementation of the drug action plan may lead to a better coordination of external drugs-related activities undertaken by the Commission and the Member States, on the basis of well-defined and agreed objectives and a clear division of responsibilities between all actors.

6. Strengthening Coordination

Good coordination between the EU institutions and all the actors involved is an essential requirement in the fight against drugs, given the complicated and fragmented nature of the drugs issue. Coordination has therefore been a key consideration for the EU since the adoption of the second EU Action Plan on Drugs in 1995.

Point 1.1.7 of the latest Action Plan asks the Commission, with the assistance of the EMCDDA, to report on existing coordination arrangements and possible improvements to them. In March 2001 the EMCDDA provided the Commission with its contribution to the report on coordination arrangements within the Member States. The Commission intends to bring forward its report, on the basis of the work of the EMCDDA, in the near future.

For financing drugs-related activities, the Commission does not have a centralised budget line, but can draw on a large number of different budget lines. The Action Plan itself does not create any new financial obligations. A summary of the budget lines and amounts available in November 2000 is attached in annex 3, and the Commission intends to update this information every year. Point 1.4.1 of the Action Plan calls on the Council and the Commission to study, on the basis of the current efforts in this field of the EMCDDA and the Pompidou Group, an approach to establish a list of all public expenditure on drugs. When the EMCDDA and the Pompidou Group bring forward their recommendations on how to classify expenditure, the Commisssion will try to adapt its budgetary information to reflect the recommendations. The Commission would encourage the Member States to examine this issue and to share whatever information they can as soon as possible, and in any case in time for the mid-term evaluation.

The Commission will contribute to the annual debate on all EU assistance drugs projects and continue to provide appropriate information on its anti-drugs co- operation projects with third countries and applicant countries.

However, there is a need for enhanced co-ordination of the external action between Member States and the Commission. Special attention should be given to the co-ordination of the EU action on the two main trafficking routes, which are fuelling the EU and the applicants countries. Cooperation with multi-lateral or international organisations should also be subject to a strengthened co-ordination.

Although the Commission and the Member States have to inform each other of all projects in third countries, no modalities have been established. As a result, exchange of information does not really function. The Commission will make proposals at the level of the Horizontal Drugs Group of the Council for agreeing practical modalities.

7. Conclusion

The Commission

* encourages all the other actors in the EU Drugs Strategy and the Action Plan on Drugs for the period 2000-2004, and in particular the Member States, to prepare and regularly update Follow-up tables similar to the one prepared by the Commission, the EMCDDA and EUROPOL;

* asks the European Parliament and the Council to endorse the principle of a single Follow-up table covering the whole range of activities mentioned in the Action Plan;

* urges the European Parliament and the Council to consider the method by which the Commission intends to carry out the evaluations of the Drugs Strategy and Action Plan, and to comment on it;

* asks the other actors involved, in particular the Member States, to provide as complete and accurate information as possible on their implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan, particularly at mid-term and on completion, so as to allow the Commission to conduct thorough evaluations;

* recommends that the Member States use the monitoring and evaluation criteria and techniques prepared by the EMCDDA and its national partners when evaluating their activities, so as to ensure that the results are comparable;

* invites the Parliament and the Council to take note of and support its approach to drugs and the enlargement of the EU;

* requests the Member States to provide it with information on all their assistance projects with the applicant countries, so that the Commission can maintain an accurate and up to date matrix; and

* suggests that the Parliament and the Council take note of coordination arrangements now in place at EU level and that all EU institutions take appropriate initiatives to enhance the current inter-institutional coordination.

ANNEX 1

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EU ACTION PLAN ON DRUGS (2000-2004):

FOLLOW-UP TABLE FOR THE COMMISSION, THE EMCDDA AND EUROPOL

>TABLE POSITION>

ANNEX 2

EMCDDA Indicators and core data and their links to the evaluation of the EU Drug Strategy (2000-2004)

>TABLE POSITION>

>TABLE POSITION>

ANNEX 3

November 2000

Overview of the programmes and actions in the fight against drugs and the budget lines which can be drawn upon

>TABLE POSITION>

>TABLE POSITION>

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