Speech Frattini over drugsbestrijding (en)

vrijdag 24 juni 2005

"On the 26th of June, the International Day on the Fight against Drugs - established by the United Nations in 1987 - it is important to recall that drugs abuse and the trade in illicit drugs are a world-wide phenomenon that is threatening the health of people and the stability of societies. It leads to death, disease, crime and corruption. Drug consumption, particularly among young people, is at historically high levels. A growing concern is the incidence of HIV/AIDS among drug users.

However it is equally important to draw attention to the fact that in the European Union alone there are up to two million problem drug users and an annual death rate due to drug abuse of over 8000. Although the drugs situation varies from one country to another there can be no doubt that the problem cannot be solved by each Member State working alone. This is why the EU institutions clearly have a role to play: to develop coherent policy responses across the EU.

Since the 1990's the EU has been developing a European model to tackle drugs. The cornerstone of this approach is the balance between prevention, education and treatment on the one hand, and the enforcement of laws against drugs manufacturing and trafficking on the other. This European model is developed through the EU's Drugs Strategies and Action Plans which are now agreed by the 25 Member States.

There is a broad consensus that, even if drugs is a sensitive issue, ideological debates should be avoided and that the basis for action should be objective and reliable data. In other words, we concentrate on what works. This is reflected in the role played by specialised agencies such as the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drugs Addiction (EMCDDA), which plays a crucial role in obtaining the evidence base for our policies, as well as Europol and Eurojust, which cover operational law enforcement and judicial cooperation.

The new Action Plan for the next four years sets out specific and measurable actions to reducing drug abuse, drug related harm to health and society, and drug trafficking. The implementation of these actions will be subject to continuous monitoring.

Worldwide, we have to accept the principle of shared responsibility: the high level of demand in our societies stimulates production elsewhere (without forgetting that Europe has itself become a major producer of synthetic drugs).

This is why, in addition to action within Europe, the Commission - as well as individual Member States - provide very substantial amounts in targeted assistance to other parts of the world to help governments in producing countries to act against the cultivation and manufacture of illicit drugs through a mixture of law enforcement and alternative development. This has made the EU a major - and in some regions THE major donor in this field. To give just one example: one billion Euro is given in aid to Afghanistan over a five-year period through the Commission budget alone.

I am quite sure that the European Union has opted for the most effective way of tackling the drugs problem: the balance between prevention, health protection and law enforcement measures set out in the new Drugs Action Plan shows our firm resolve to both protect the fundamental rights and the security of our citizens."