To: Carel Edwards
Head of Drug Coordination Unit
B- 1049 Brussels
23 November 2007
Dear Carel Edwards,
Herewith we would like to thank you for your letter of 31 October 2007, announcing the organisation of the first meeting of the Civil Society Forum on Drugs in the European Union, on 13 & 14 December 2007.
We note from your letter that 26 organisations have been selected to participate in this meeting, out of a total of 75 respondents to the call for applications that expired on 17 August 2007.
Several questions can be raised concerning the selection process for this forum.
According to the Green Paper on the role of civil society in Drug Policy in the European Union, published in June 2006, the objective of the dialogue with civil society is ‘to explore the scope for bringing those most directly concerned by the drugs problem more closely into the policy process’ (p.3).
Several important stakeholders in the European drug debate, such as organisations representing drug consumers, are not (enough) represented in the current forum. On the other hand, some organisations have been selected in spite of the fact that they did not participate in the previous consultation. The same counts for some organisations that, from a first glance, do not seem to fulfil the eligibility criteria to join the forum as they were published by the Commission in April this year.
In December 2006, the European Parliament approved a budget increase of 1 million EURO to the 2007 budget for Drugs Prevention and Information. The specific purpose of this budget increase was to “support dialogue with civil society on drug policy”. We assume the major part of this budget increase has yet to be spent, and there ought to be enough margin in the budget to invite 75 representatives to the two days conference in Brussels.
In April this year, the European Commission published the key results of the open consultation with stakeholders that took place through the Green Paper. One of the six main conclusions of this consultation was: “The Forum should be inclusive rather than exclusive, with transparent selection criteria.”
Therefore we wish to make the following enquiries
1. Can the Commission explain what are the reasons for not inviting all 75 organisations that applied to the August 17 deadline to the first meeting of the Civil Society Forum?
2. Can the Commission indicate, for each organisation that applied to the August 17 deadline, and for each organisation that ultimately made it to the selection, the specific reasons for selection and omission from selection?
We look forward to your responses to these questions, which will help to ensure the transparency and therefore the legitimacy of the forum.
ENCOD European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies, Belgium
AKZEPT Bundesverband für akzeptierende Drogenarbeit und humane Drogenpolitik, Germany
FAUDAS Federación Estatal de Personas Afectadas por la Política de Drogas, Spain
INPUD International Network of People who Use Drugs, Belgium
LCA Legalise Cannabis Alliance, United Kingdom
NON VIOLENT RADICAL PARTY, Italy
PIC Pazienti Impazienti Cannabis, Italy
SDB Stichting Drugsbeleid, Netherlands