In 2004, ENCOD approached relevant authorities and decision-makers in the European Union, to establish a serious dialogue on the issue of drugs between authorities and civil society in the EU.
In May, the European Union organised a Summit on Drug Policy in Dublin, Ireland, called ‘The Way Forward’. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the global guidelines for the forthcoming Strategy on Drugs of the European Union (2005 – 2012).
From August onwards, ENCOD presented its proposal for a dialogue to EU authorities to organise a dialogue with involved civil society during the preparation process of a new EU Drug Strategy for 2005 – 2012.
Read the letters sent to EU authorities on 22 October, 28 september and 30 August. On 18 October we received an answer from the Dutch Presidency of the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs, that they would not take into account our proposal.
On the other hand, Member of European Parliament Giusto Catania, responsible for the EP report on the new drug strategy, invited us to participate in a common reflection on this strategy.
We wrote various letters to the Members of European Parliament in support of the Catania report. At the same time, the European Union Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction issued the results of an evaluation of the past EU Drugs Strategy. These results were devastating for the strategy.
During the days when the plenary session of the European Parliament had to vote on the report, ENCOD organised an information stand in the European Parliament in Strassbourg. Finally, the report was approved and became the official opinion of the European Parliament on EU drug policy
The report includes some key recommendations that indicate the need to change the fundamental course of drug policies in Europe. Among others, it states that none of the objectives set by the former EU Anti-Drug Strategy (2000-2004) has achieved favourable results, and that the European Union should draw political and legislative lessons from this when devising the new strategy.
The European Council, consisting of government delegates of the EU Member States, adopted the new strategy on 17 December. As expected, it did not contain any indications that authorities were considering to change course.
ENCOD issued a proposal to organise a conference in 2005 to adress the issue of civil society involvement in the design of drug policies in the EU.
Meanwhile, the European Commission had opened a website] where anyone could send his/her comments to the new EU Drug Strategy. This is called an informal consultation process. It closed on 8 November 2004. In december 2004 the Commission presented a summary of the letters they received.