In the end of June 2006, after many years of lobbying by ENCOD and others to establish a forum for dialogue between civil society and authorities in the European Union to discuss the impact of current drug policies, the Drugs Coordination Unit of the European Commission (DCU) produced a Green Paper on the upcoming dialogue with civil society on drug policy in Europe, asking for comments to be sent in before 30 September.
The European Commission then announced a call for proposals to be included in a “Civil Society Forum on Drugs” that would consist of 30 representatives of European Civil Society who would be selected by the European Commission.
The Civil Society Forum has been created, as the Commission writes on its own website, “to increase informal consultation and the input
of civil society on drug-related activities, policy proposals, policy
implementation and priorities of the EU Drugs Strategy and the EU Action
Plan on Drugs.”
Every organisation or individual citizen could apply to be included in this Forum, by sending an application form before 17 August 2007.
On October 31st, 2007 the Commission published a list of 26 organisations selected out of a list of 77 organisations who applied to take part in this forum.
The 26 organisations were invited to take part in the first session of this dialogue on December 13th and 14th. ENCOD was invited and participated in this forum. Read the report on the forum as it took place in December 2007, May 2008 and March 2009.
Until now DCU’s representatives have done everything to avoid a discussion on the impact of current drug policy and the perspectives of alternative ways of regulation to take place within the framework of the CSF. In response to our question why this discussion is impossible, the DCU representatives have said that they have limited mandate to act on this field: “The formal mandate of the Commission is over the control of precursors and money laundering. Member states have autonomy to decide which drug policies they will adopt.” Never in the process of creating the CSF (which involved conferences, publication of a Green Paper and a long lasting selection procedure ongoing since January 2006) had this argument been mentioned.
In May 2009, DCU’s representatives [announced that the next session
of the CSF would take place in January 2010->http://www.encod.org/info/IMG/pdf/REPLY_JETSU.pdf], and that the agenda would
be prepared by a core group formed at the last session. This
announcement was repeated by DCU’s representatives during a [meeting with
the ENCOD Steering Committee in september 2009->article1999]. During 2009, the core group did not come off the ground. In December 2009, the session was postponed with no announcement of a new date.
In February 2010, the Commission invited the members of the core group, Encod being one of them, to a meeting on 15 June. This meeting did not produce any results. A new meeting was scheduled on 8 November 2010, and one month later, the fourth session of the Civil Society Forum took place, on 13 and 14 December 2010. On this meetings it was decided to set up working groups to discuss different views on drug policy, so that more or less coherent proposals for recommendations to the EU Drug Strategy could be made.
On 13 and 14 april 2011, the 5th edition of the CSF took place in which these working groups took place. No common decision was made on the follow up. A new CSF is planned for October 2011.
Do you think ENCOD should participate in this Forum at all? Please give your opinion in our survey: