Tag Archives: Drug trafficking

Fighting corruption

Fighting corruption

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fighting corruption


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Fight against fraud > Fight against corruption

Fighting corruption

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee of 6 June 2011 – Fighting corruption in the EU [COM (2011) 308 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Corruption affects all countries of the European Union (EU) to various degrees. Corruption is harmful, not only financially but also socially, because it is often used to mask other serious crimes such as trafficking in drugs or human beings. In addition, it can weaken citizens’ trust in democratic institutions and their political leaders.

Several anti-corruption instruments exist at international and EU level, but their implementation by Member States remains uneven.

In order to strengthen the political will, in all Member States, to tackle this problem, the Commission announces the setting up of an Anti-Corruption Report and calls on EU countries to implement the existing anti-corruption instruments more effectively. It also presents measures aimed at a stronger focus on corruption in EU internal and external policies.

Anti-Corruption Report

Starting in 2013, the Commission will publish an Anti-Corruption Reportevery two years as an EU evaluation and monitoring mechanism. The Report will identify trends and weaknesses that need to be addressed, and stimulate exchange of best practices. It will give a better reflection of the efforts made and problems encountered, and of the causes of corruption.

The Report will be based on data from different sources, including the monitoring mechanisms of the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations, but also from independent experts, research findings, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), Eurojust, Europol, the European Anti-Corruption Network, Member States, Eurobarometer surveys and civil society.

Implementation of existing instruments

The Commission urges the EU countries to transpose all European legislation against corruption in the private sector into their national law and to ensure that it is applied properly.

It also asks the Member States that have not already done so to ratify the existing international anti-corruption instruments: the Criminal Law Convention and the Civil Law Convention on Corruption of the Council of Europe, the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the OECD Convention.

The Commission also intends to enhance cooperation with those international authorities and will request EU participation in the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) created within the Council of Europe.

Focus on corruption in EU policies

Anti-corruption should be an integral part of all relevant EU policies, both internal and external.

Internally, the Commission intends in particular to strengthen judicial and police cooperation in the field of corruption, in collaboration with Europol, Eurojust, the European Police College (CEPOL) and OLAF. It also aims to improve the training of law enforcement officials in this field.

The Commission will also propose modernised EU rules on confiscation of criminal assets to ensure that courts in Member States are able to effectively confiscate and recover criminal assets, including in cases involving corruption. Because corruption is often linked to money laundering, the Commission will present a strategy in 2012 to strengthen the quality of criminal financial investigations. Lastly, to gain a better measure of the extent of corruption and the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures, an Action Plan to improve statistics on crime and criminal justice is under preparation.

The Commission will also focus on modernising EU rules governing public procurement, accounting standards and statutory audit for EU companies. It has also adopted an Anti-Fraud Strategy against fraud affecting the financial interests of the Union.

Externally, the Commission will continue to focus strongly on the monitoring of anti-corruption policies in candidate countries and potential candidates for EU accession. It plans to make this fight a key aspect of the support given by the EU to countries participating in the Neighbourhood Policy. With regard to cooperation and development policies, the Commission promotes greater use of the conditionality principle, i.e. making compliance with international anti-corruption standards a condition of cooperation and development assistance.

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the Council of 6 June 2011 on the modalities of European Union participation in the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) [COM (2011) 307 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

of 28 September 2011 setting up the Group of Experts on Corruption [OJ C 286 of 30.9.2011].
The task of this Group of Experts is to advise the Commission on all matters relating to corruption and, in particular, to assist it in producing the EU Anti-Corruption Report.

The EU drugs action plan

The EU drugs action plan

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The EU drugs action plan


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

The EU drugs action plan (2005-08)

In order to counter the drugs problem from the standpoint of both health protection and enforcement, the action plan provides all the European bodies concerned with guiding principles to help them fix their priorities in this area. The guidelines are based on five specific actions: coordination, reduction in demand, reduction in supply, international cooperation and information, research and assessment.

Document or Iniciative

EU Drugs Action Plan (2005-2008) of 8 July 2005 [Official Journal C 168 of 8.7.2005].


This action plan provides a consistent framework at European Union (EU) level for the adoption of enforcement and preventive measures aimed at reducing the supply of and demand for drugs. Its ultimate aim is to significantly reduce the prevalence of drug use among the population as well as to lessen the social harm and damage to health caused by the use of and trade in illicit drugs.

The action plan follows the structure and the objectives of the EU drugs strategy 2005-12, and seeks concrete results in specific priority areas.

For each objective, the Commission sets out the action(s) proposed, the corresponding timetable, the responsible authority, as well as the assessment tool or appropriate indicator. About eighty such actions are provided for.

The actions are based on five priorities:

  • coordination of anti-drugs policy at EU level;
  • demand reduction;
  • supply reduction;
  • international cooperation;
  • information and research on drugs, and evaluation of the actions undertaken.


The action plan stresses the importance of effective coordination at Community and national levels. In particular, it provides for the adoption of national programmes conforming to the EU strategy and action plans, the appointing of a drugs coordinator within each Member State and the Commission and more involvement by civil society.

Furthermore, the action plan appoints the Horizontal Drugs Group (HDG) as the leading forum in the Council for coordination on drugs and recommends the systematic mainstreaming of drugs policy into relations and agreements with relevant countries.

Demand reduction

The Member States and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) must, in particular, extend the scope of drug demand reduction programmes, assess them and disseminate the best practices assessed.

Furthermore, Member States must improve access to prevention programmes in schools and make them more effective. They must also improve prevention methods and the detection of risk factors in certain target groups, especially young people, as well as the dissemination of these data to the professionals in order to implement early intervention programmes.

Member States should also ensure that targeted treatment, re-education and social reintegration programmes that incorporate tested psychosocial and pharmacological strategies are available and accessible and include drug addicts not reached by existing services, with particular attention being paid to specialised services for young people.

The plan also recommends developing further alternatives to imprisonment for addicts and the setting-up of prevention, treatment and reintegration services for prisoners.

As regards the health of drug users, a Commission report on the implementation of Council Recommendation 2003/488/EC concerning the prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug dependence is to be submitted by 2006 at the latest. Member States must also improve access to harm reduction services and treatment, and also set up programmes preventing the propagation of the AIDS virus, hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases. They should also endeavour to reduce the number of drug-related deaths.

Supply reduction

Reducing supply means improving training for professionals and strengthening police cooperation between Member States and, where appropriate, with Europol, Eurojust and third countries. Achieving this aim will entail:

  • implementing operational enforcement programmes (joint investigation teams, etc.) and joint intelligence projects;
  • maximum use of the operational and strategic potential of Europol by improving the regularity with which relevant information is sent to the agency and made available to the Member States;
  • strengthening controls on the EU’s external borders;
  • specific measures to deal with the cross-border trade in drugs.

The action plan also contains measures to reduce the production of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and synthetic drugs, as well as trade in them, in particular by implementing operational joint programmes, collecting intelligence on third countries involved in the manufacturing and trading of such drugs, sharing best practice and exchanging information. Measures will also be adopted to combat the diversion and smuggling of drug precursors, such as the implementation of projects like the European joint unit on precursors.

The action plan also covers activities connected with the supply of drugs, chiefly in the form of measures targeted at money laundering and the seizure and re-use of financial products connected with drugs, in particular through exchanges of information and best practices. Similarly, certain measures are aimed at highlighting the links between drug trafficking and the financing of terrorism, as well as at collecting data on the use of information technologies in drug-related criminal activities.

International cooperation

The action plan aims to improve the coordination, effectiveness and visibility of EU action in international organisations and forums such as the United Nations, in particular by presenting joint positions and promoting its drugs strategy.

In addition, particular efforts must be made to improve assistance given to applicant countries, potential applicant countries or countries affected by the neighbourhood policy, in order to implement the acquis in this area or take the necessary action. Such efforts include technical assistance and the signing of appropriate agreements with the countries concerned.

Furthermore, whilst continuing its political commitment and cooperation with regard to third countries concerned by the drugs problem, the EU must intensify its efforts at enforcement, focussing in particular on producer countries and the regions in which the drug trafficking routes are located.

Information, research and evaluation

In order to gain a clearer picture and understanding of the drugs problem, the action plan calls for the supply of reliable information, in particular through the introduction of five key epidemiological indicators. Emerging trends must also be identified, as well as user habits and characteristics of the drugs markets, by means of surveys, Community guidelines and tools for detecting and following up such trends.

The action plan encourages research into the factors underlying dependency and into questions on the effects of certain drugs and effective health measures. The action plan also encourages the setting-up of excellence networks in the field of drug research.

Follow-up of the action plan

Assessment tools and indicators for each action, which were designed with the assistance of the EMCDDA and Europol, will help the Commission to monitor the implementation of the action plan.

The Commission will carry out an impact study in 2008, in order to propose a second action plan for 2009-12. It will conduct a final assessment of the strategy and the action plans in 2012.


The EU anti-drugs strategy, adopted by the Brussels European Council in December 2004, includes a series of measures designed to curb demand for drugs, improve treatments for drug addicts and reduce the availability of illegal drugs. It commits Member States to strengthening the cohesion of their drug enforcement policies. It establishes two consecutive plans between 2005 and 2012. This strategy is an essential element of the Hague Programme, a multiannual programme aimed at strengthening freedom, security and justice in the EU.

Related Acts

 of 20 December 2008 [Official Journal C 326 of 20.12.2008].

The EU drugs action plan for the period 2009-12 follows on from that for the period 2005-08. Taking into consideration the lessons learned over the first four-year period, the plan builds on the established framework to reduce the demand for and supply of drugs.

Commission staff working document – Accompanying document to the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on an EU Drugs Action Plan (2009-2012) – Report of the final evaluation of the EU drugs action plan (2005-2008) [SEC(2008) 2456 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 10 December 2007 on the 2007 Progress Review of the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2005-2008) [COM(2007) 781 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission identifies some positive aspects, in particular the convergence of national policies and further progress towards completion of the strategy’s objectives. However, it points to a lack of information on the impact the actions have in the framework of the anti-drug strategy. It therefore advocates the establishment of a methodology for evaluating the impact of these actions, adding that efforts should be pursued on the exchange of national information and alignment of the action plan indicators. It indicates its intention to undertake a final evaluation of the 2005-08 action plan on drugs and to draft a proposal on the 2009-12 action plan.

Commission staff working document of 21 December 2006 – 2006 Progress Review on the implementation of the EU Drugs Action Plan (2005-2008) [SEC(2006) 1803 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Another Normative about The EU drugs action plan


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

The EU drugs action plan (2009-12)

Document or Iniciative

EU Drugs Action Plan for 2009-2012 of 20 December 2008 [Official Journal C 326 of 20.12.2008].


Following on from the EU drugs action plan 2005-08, the current action plan builds on the measures established to coordinate drugs policy in Member States. These two action plans implement the EU drugs strategy for 2005-12, which was adopted by the European Council in December 2004. The overall aim of these instruments is to reduce the demand for and supply of drugs, as well as the social and health damage the use of and trade in drugs causes.

Based on the existing framework, the action plan for the period 2009-12 provides for specific actions under five priority areas:

Improve coordination

In order to develop and implement drugs policy more effectively, coordination and cooperation at the European and national levels must be strengthened. The Council’s Horizontal Drugs Group (HDG) should pro-actively coordinate EU drug policy. At the same time, the Council together with the Commission must ensure that the internal and external drugs policies are coherent. To move forward with specific and urgent issues, the national drugs coordinators should be convened on a regular basis.

At the national level, a balanced and integrated approach should be taken in forming drugs policy, with the civil society enabled to participate in informing thereof. The Commission should consult the Civil Society Forum on Drugs at least once a year and invite civil society (via “The European Alliance on Drugs” initiative) to contribute to the fight against drugs.

Reduce demand

The measures that reduce drug use and the related health and social consequences must be made more effective. In particular, the accessibility to as well as availability and quality of services that prevent, treat and reduce harm should be improved. Successful prevention programmes and interventions should be made available for a variety of target groups. Due regard should be given to the specific needs of drug users, especially in terms of age, gender, cultural background, etc. Targeted measures should also be put in place to prevent high risk behaviour of drug users.

The offer of drug treatments that consist of both psychological and pharmacological measures should be improved and new rehabilitation and re-integration programmes developed. The availability and effectiveness of demand reduction interventions should be surveyed by Member States. They should also agree on common minimum quality standards and benchmarks for these services.

Member States should make more use of sanctions other than prison to punish drug-offenders. At the same time, services for drug users in prison should be developed, with particular emphasis placed on health care as well as follow-up care upon release. Member States should also take steps to guarantee access to appropriate services to prevent the propagation of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other blood-borne infectious diseases, as well as to reduce the number of deaths caused by drugs.

Reduce supply

Law enforcement cooperation at European level must be improved in order to fight drug production and trafficking effectively. To that end, multidisciplinary operations involving Europol, Eurojust, as well as police, customs and border control services should be used to a greater extent through bilateral and multilateral cooperation initiatives, namely joint investigation teams (JIT) and joint customs operations (JCO). Furthermore, judicial cooperation among Member States should be improved, especially by encouraging the full application of EU instruments for mutual recognition and assistance.

With a view to responding to emerging threats in a rapid and effective manner at the operational level, regional security platforms, such as the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N) and the Baltic Sea Task Force (BSTF) should be set up. At the same time, manufacturing and supplying of synthetic drugs as well as the trafficking of drug precursors must be diminished. This requires enhanced border control management and international operational cooperation.

Improve international cooperation

The effectiveness of cooperation with third countries and international organisations must be improved. The EU drugs policy must be incorporated into the general development and security agenda. Alternative development projects and programmes should be supported through increased financial aid. Projects aimed at producer countries and countries along trafficking routes should be stepped up to reduce the demand for and supply of drugs. Similarly, regional and intraregional cooperation funded by Member States and EC programmes should be enhanced with third countries. Monitoring and assessment tools must also be developed to evaluate EU assistance.

The European integrated and balanced approach to the drugs problem should be promoted, in particular through the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). Furthermore, EU drug-related activities should be coordinated with a wide range of international programmes.

Finally, the candidate and stabilisation and association process countries should be given technical and other assistance so that they may become familiar with the EU acquis and take the necessary actions concerning drug-related issues. Such dialogue should also be developed with the European Neighbourhood Policy countries.

Improve understanding of the drugs phenomenon

Understanding of the drugs phenomenon in the EU must be increased, not least to raise awareness among citizens, but also to expand the knowledge base for public policy. This should be achieved through the promotion of research and of exchanges of drug-related data.

It is essential that monitoring instruments, such as the five key epidemiological indicators of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), be further developed to assess the drug situation in Europe. Member States must regularly evaluate their drug policies and amend them accordingly.

The current action plan shall be reviewed annually. In addition, the implementation of the EU drugs strategy for 2005-12 and of this action plan shall be assessed in 2012, with a view to considering any follow-up actions.

Criminal acts and the applicable penalties

Criminal acts and the applicable penalties

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Criminal acts and the applicable penalties


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Criminal acts and the applicable penalties

Document or Iniciative

Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 25 October 2004 laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking.


This framework decision lays down minimum provisions on criminal acts and the penalties applicable to drug trafficking.


The framework decision requires each European Union (EU) country to take the necessary measures to sanction all intentional behaviour relating to the trafficking in drugs and precursors.

“Drugs” are defined as any substances covered by the 1961 United Nations (UN) Convention on Narcotic Drugs or the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances or as any substances subject to controls under Joint Action 97/396/JHA. Precursors are substances used to produce legal products such as medicines, but that can also be used to produce illicit drugs. They are classified in EU law on the basis of Article 12 of the 1988 UN Convention.

Acts linked to drug trafficking include production, manufacture, extraction, sale, transport, importation and exportation. Possession and purchase with a view to engaging in activities linked with drug trafficking are also taken into account, as are the manufacture, transport and distribution of precursors. Incitement to drug trafficking, aiding and abetting such activity, and attempting to traffic in drugs are regarded as offences.

However, this framework decision does not cover activities relating to the trafficking in drugs for personal consumption.

Liability of legal persons

The framework decision requires EU countries to take measures to ensure that legal persons can be held to account for offences linked with trafficking in drugs and precursors, as well as for aiding and abetting, inciting or attempting such activity. The concept of legal persons as used here does not include states and public bodies in the exercise of their powers or public international organisations.

An organisation is liable if the offence is committed by an individual who has a leading position within that organisation. It is also held responsible for shortcomings in supervision or control. However, the liability of legal persons does not exclude criminal proceedings against natural persons.


The framework decision requires EU countries to take the necessary measures to ensure that offences are subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties.

If an offence is committed in whole or in part within an EU country’s territory, that country must take measures, provided that the offender is one of its nationals or that the offence was committed for the benefit of a legal person established within its territory.

The maximum penalties for minor offences must be at least between one and three years’ imprisonment. EU countries must also take the necessary measures to confiscate substances used to commit offences.

Maximum penalties must be at least between five and ten years of deprivation of liberty in cases where the offence:

  • involves large quantities of drugs;
  • involves those drugs that are most harmful to health;
  • is committed within the framework of a criminal organisation.

However, penalties may be reduced if the offender renounces his illegal activities and provides information to the administrative or legal authorities that will help identify other offenders.

Sanctions for legal persons must include fines for criminal or non-criminal offences. Other sanctions may also be imposed, including placing the establishment under judicial supervision or closing it temporarily or permanently.


This framework decision follows up the conclusions of the 1999 Tampere European Council, which called on EU countries to adopt additional legal provisions to combat trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The EU action plan to combat drugs (2000-04) also called for measures to introduce minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties on drug trafficking.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA



OJ L 335 of 11.11.2004

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 10 December 2009 on the implementation of Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking [COM(2009) 669 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In line with the requirements of Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA, this report evaluates its application by EU countries. However, six EU countries had failed to report on their transposition measures by the deadline.
Compliance with the provisions of the framework decision is problematic, in particular as regards:

  • crimes linked to trafficking in drugs;
  • passive liability of and sanctions for legal persons;
  • jurisdiction in cases where the offence is committed outside an EU country for the benefit of a legal person established in the territory of that country.

While national legislations can be considered to be in line with the requirements of the framework decision regarding penalties, these differ greatly from one EU country to another and are, in general, much higher than those established by the framework decision.
On the whole, the framework decision has resulted in little changes to the national legislations of EU countries. Consequently, the Commission is calling on those EU countries that provided no information or incomplete information to report back on their transposition measures.

Action Plan to Combat Drugs

Action plan to combat drugs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action plan to combat drugs


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Action plan to combat drugs (1995-1999)

1) Objective

To establish general guidelines for future Union measures to combat drugs.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on a European Union Action Plan to combat drugs (1996-2000) [COM(94) 234 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary


A global multi-annual (1996-2000) action plan under which the Union will implement a global strategy to combat drugs, aimed at reducing demand, combating illicit drug trafficking and taking action against non-member countries involved in the production and transit of drugs.

This plan is an extension of the first two European plans preceding the entry into force of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which were approved by the European Councils in Rome (December 1990) and Edinburgh (December 1992).

The structure of the Action Plan is as follows:

a) Reducing demand

Pursuant to Article 152 (formerly Article 129) of the TEU, the Community action programme on drug addiction aims to encourage and facilitate activities involving high-risk groups in particular situations, to promote the identification, development, testing and use of the best methods to ensure the dissemination of information, to promote education and training initiatives with the aim of developing strategies for prevention, to support work on early detection and on advice for drug users and to promote social rehabilitation and reintegration.

b) Combating trafficking

The new action plan proposes to develop and consolidate existing Community legislation and to implement Title VI of the TEU. Results have been obtained at Community level as a result on the one hand of measures carried out in combating the diversion of precursors and psychotropic substances and, on the other, of the Directive on “money laundering”. The Commission advocates reinforcing this activity by using existing instruments (development of electronic mail networks to speed up the exchange of information, etc.), by promoting cooperation with non-member countries (taking Community legislation and other international agreements as a model) and by assessing the practical implementation of these measures.

Title VI (cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs) introduces a new obligation for Member States of the Union to cooperate on matters of common interest in judicial, customs and police affairs (Article K.1.7, 8) and 9)). EUROPOL, once established, is to focus its activity initially on combating drug trafficking.

Pursuant to Article K.1.4, aimed at combating drug addiction, the Commission is formulating suggestions with a view to complementing measures currently in progress, namely:

  • interdisciplinary exchanges between professionals and organisations responsible for reducing drug supply and demand;
  • establishment of a European forum for inter-city exchanges and cooperation;
  • cooperation in the area of the relationship between drugs and criminality.

c. International measures

The EU is to supplement its action plan by initiatives outside the Union, making use of Community instruments and of the new opportunities offered by the CFSP (common foreign and security policy). At Community level, measures should involve the following areas:

  • continued EU participation in international efforts (UN international drug monitoring programme, the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, etc);
  • at the bilateral level, reinforcing national and regional strategies in cooperation witih certain countries or regions representing a particular risk due to their proximity to the Union;
  • development of cooperation by including clauses relating to combating drugs in EU agreements with non-member countries;
  • including cooperation in combating drugs among the priorities in terms of commercial and development policy (e.g. recourse to GSP or the Lomé Convention).

The CFSP will enable the EU to lend its political and diplomatic weight to commercial and development cooperation mechanisms already in place. In addition, the Council has identified the combating of illicit drug trafficking as an appropriate field for joint action, targeting the Maghreb and the Middle East as priority areas in this context. The Communication suggests that action under the CFSP may take the form of joint positions intended to ensure increased international cooperation and joint measures intended to support Community efforts aimed at strengthening the ability of non-member countries to play a full part in combating drugs.

d. Coordination

The Communication stresses the importance of maintaining and improving coordination at both Member State and EU level, particularly in the following contexts:

  • Coordination within and between Member States (national coordinators and the Permanent Representatives’ Committee ought to have an important role to play);
  • The European Drugs Monitoring Centre in Lisbon will be able to contribute to the political decision-making process through its important role in information and analysis, in liaison with its associated network of national centres;
  • Multidisciplinary aspects (information, research and training are considered priorities).

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Communication of 26 May 1999 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, on a European Union Action Plan to Combat Drugs (  ) [COM(1999) 239 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Following on from the European Councils in Cardiff (June 1998) and Vienna (December 1998), the Commission and the Parliament have been called on to draw up a new, comprehensive anti-drug strategy to replace the 1995-1999 action plan.

Another Normative about Action Plan to Combat Drugs


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Justice freedom and security > Combating drugs

Action Plan to Combat Drugs (2000-2004)

To intensify cooperation and collaboration at national and European level, a European action plan to combat drug abuse and drug trafficking has been introduced. Through the plan, the Commission is establishing the general guidelines for Union action to combat drugs and drug abuse.

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 26 May 1999 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on a European Union Action Plan to Combat Drugs (2000-2004) [COM(1999) 239 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Since the mid-1980s, the Member States have stepped up cooperation on combating drug addiction and drug trafficking. Since 1990, European Councils have adopted a variety of action plans and programmes to provide a comprehensive response to this phenomenon. The European Councils in Cardiff (June 1998) and Vienna (December 1998) called on the Council, the Commission and Parliament to draw up a new, comprehensive anti-drug strategy to replace the 1995-1999 Action Plan. The Commission communication is a follow-up to this request and sets out recent trends in drug abuse and trafficking in the EU and the course the Union’s anti-drugs measures should take over the next five years.

The setting up of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the Europol Drugs Unit (replaced since 1 July 1999 by the European Police Office (Europol)) has led to a better understanding of the drug phenomenon and simplified Member States’ cooperation on the collection and exchange of information.

The information provided by these two bodies in 1998 has made it possible to identify a number of trends in consumption and trafficking. The use of cannabis, still the most widely used drug in the EU, has levelled out, while the use of amphetamines and misuse of medicines is on the increase. As regards trafficking, the routes used by the various drugs are well known, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans often serving as the hub for heroin, cocaine and cannabis. The EU is also a major producer of synthetic drugs.

The Action Plan proposed by the Commission requires a global, multidisciplinary and integrated strategy to fight drugs if it is to be effective. The social and health implications of the drugs problem need to be addressed, as do the links between drug-taking and crime and delinquency. A balanced approach to reducing demand and supply is therefore needed. Furthermore, if the production of drugs is to be reduced, there must be a partnership between producer and consumer countries to provide support for social and economic development in the producer countries.

The Commission would like to see a more systematic assessment, by independent experts, of the measures, policies and strategies adopted by the EU in the fight against drugs. It will carry out a mid-term evaluation of the forthcoming action plan. The data supplied by the EMCDDA and Europol on drug use and trafficking will also make it possible to monitor the situation and if necessary adjust Union policy.

The plan for 2000-2004 identifies a number of priorities:

  • measures to counter the use and production of cannabis, amphetamines and ecstasy;
  • the introduction of integrated projects to combat urban delinquency, especially among young people;
  • measures in the field of health (hepatitis), social exclusion and criminal justice;
  • preparations for enlargement with participation by applicant countries in EMCDDA and EU drug addiction projects and measures under the Phare Programme.

The Amsterdam Treaty provides a new legal framework for achieving these ambitious objectives. Under the new Article 152 of the EC Treaty, public health must be taken into account in all Community policies and actions. The drugs problem is also listed as a priority for Community action in the field of public health and cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs (Title VI of the Treaty on European Union), which mentions three possible methods:

  • direct cooperation between police forces and customs authorities of the Member States or cooperation through Europol;
  • judicial cooperation;
  • approximation, where necessary, of rules on criminal matters in the Member States.

Although drugs continue to be an important theme in international cooperation, no new instruments are planned. Multilateral and bilateral activities already under way will continue.

The Action Plan has five general objectives:

  • to ensure that the fight against drugs continues to be a major priority for EU internal and external action;
  • to continue the integrated and balanced approach to reducing supply and demand;
  • to continue the processing of information with the support of the EMCDDA and Europol;
  • to promote international cooperation, particularly through the United Nations;
  • to mobilise the necessary resources.

Five specific objectives are also identified:

  • Information:

    A comprehensive strategy has to be based on reliable information in order to assess the scale and nature of drug use on a regular basis (the EMCDDA’s REITOX network, cooperation between the EMCDDA and Eurostat) as well as on knowledge obtained from research and assessments of earlier programmes.
  • Action on demand reduction:

    The aim is to reduce drug use by the under-18s and the number of drug-related deaths over a period of five years. This will require measures in the field of public health and education (information campaigns in schools). Research is also needed under the Fifth framework programme to improve understanding of consumption factors and associated health and social consequences and to develop more effective treatment. A number of other areas should be studied as a matter of priority, including the effects of drug use on driving and doping in sport.
  • Action on reduction of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances:

    On the question of the diversion of precursors and psychotropic substances, monitoring must be carried out on targeted products if it is to be effective. Twenty-two such substances are listed in the 1988 United Nations Convention. Those which are not must be the subject of “special surveillance” in cooperation with industry.
    On money laundering, the Commission wishes to extend the scope of the 1991 Directive on this subject. A range of international measures are also being carried out as part of the PHARE and TACIS programmes.
    Use of the new technologies, and particularly the Internet, must be made safer (an action plan was adopted on this subject in January 1999). Although only the national authorities have the power to initiate legal proceedings or impose penalties, they may call on the assistance of Europol if necessary.
    Special attention will be given to synthetic drugs through legislation and practical cooperation both within Europe and at international level.
    Finally, a large number of medium and short-term measures are proposed in the action plan to establish an area of freedom, security and justice.
  • Action at international level

    This will be based on national and/or regional plans and is guided by a number of principles, including shared responsibility, integrating drugs control into mainstream development and respect for human rights. The regions mainly concerned are the applicant countries, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central Asia (extending to Transcaucasia), the Mediterranean countries (especially Morocco), Africa and Asia (including China). Cooperation with the industrialised countries and in international bodies (such as the G8, for example) will be strengthened with a view to promoting dialogue and introducing integrated and/or regional policies and programmes. Cooperation with international organisations such as the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) must be stepped up.
  • Coordination
    The drugs phenomenon affects different areas and is covered by a variety of legal bases. The Commission considers that coordination is essential and must involve all the EU institutions and bodies, especially on the question of drug addiction.

The annex includes an assessment of the 1995-1999 action plan, a table of current trends in drug demand reduction, current development in legislation and practices and a list of budget headings on which actions in the field of drugs can be based.

Related Acts


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 22 October 2004 on the results of the final evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2000-2004 Action Plan provides for the Commission to undertake mid-term and final evaluations of its implementation. This communication presents the results of the final evaluation and lays the foundation for the future evolution of EU drugs policy on the basis of the lessons learnt from the implementation of current policy.

The communication gives details of the main achievements and identifies areas where further progress is needed.


The communication concludes inter alia that:

  • around 95% of the actions set out in the Plan have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented;
  • almost all the Member States have adopted a national drugs strategy or action plan;
  • taking the evaluation tools used, there is nothing to support the contention that the goal to significantly reduce drug abuse has been achieved or that fewer young people are using drugs; however, there is evidence of an overall levelling-off in the upward trend in drug addiction;
  • similarly, the available information does not suggest that the availability of drugs has been reduced substantially; none the less, a number of EU-level initiatives have strengthened law enforcement measures against drug trafficking and supply;
  • a number of important initiatives have also been taken to combat money laundering; in particular, Member States are participating in a number of initiatives to combat the diversion of precursors, such as the European Joint Unit on Precursors (EJUP).


The communication sets out the following proposals for the future EU drugs strategy:

  • it should contain clear and precise objectives and priorities that can be translated into operational indicators and measures in the future Action Plan, with responsibility and deadlines for their implementation being clearly defined;
  • continued progress should be made on the availability, quality and comparability of information on monitoring the drugs situation;
  • the objectives of the new strategy and action plans should be reflected in the multi-annual programme consolidating the area of freedom, security and justice;
  • the primary focus of the work of the Council’s Horizontal Drugs Group should be on moving forward and monitoring the implementation of the measures set out in the future EU action plans on drugs; it should also have a leading role in coordinating the work of the other Council groups on drug issues;
  • the results of the many activities undertaken in the field of drugs should be more widely shared to promote similar activities elsewhere;
  • this final evaluation should be taken into account in the development of the new EU drugs strategy 2005-2012.

The Commission will present a proposal at the beginning of 2005 for an Action Plan on Drugs 2005-2008. In addition, it will draw up an annual progress review on the implementation of this Plan and will organise an impact assessment in 2008 with a view to proposing a second Action Plan for the period 2009-2012. In 2012 the Commission will organise an overall evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plans.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 4 November 2002 on the mid-term evaluation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) [COM(2002)599 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The evaluation covers the five main areas of the Plan: coordination, information and evaluation, demand reduction, prevention of drug use and of drug-related crime, supply reduction and international cooperation. It is based on four main sources of information:

  • the replies of the Member States to a questionnaire on progress at national level;
  • the updated follow-up table of the achievements of the Commission, the EMCDDA and Europol;
  • the evaluation of law enforcement in the Member States and its role in the fight against drugs trafficking;
  • the initiatives taken at EU level, either by the Commission or by Member States, which have been adopted or which are under examination.


Following a detailed assessment of each of the five main areas of the plan, the Commission concluded that, despite considerable progress, much work remained to be done, particularly in the following areas:

  • the issue of synthetic drugs;
  • the further development of the evaluation of drug policies and drugs activities at national and EU levels on the basis of reliable data (importance of research);
  • close cooperation with the candidate countries;
  • more effective coordination of action in third countries (with a particular focus on the main producing and transit countries).

In order to take forward implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs, the Commission makes the following proposals:

  • priorities among the activities set out in the Action Plan should be identified in order to focus on these key activities (e.g. by setting deadlines for implementation);
  • a steering group, to include representatives from the Commission, the Council Presidency, Europol and the EMCDDA, should be established in 2003 by the Presidency and the Commission; Parliament should also appoint its representative; the group’s aim would be to provide guidance and to monitor the preparation of the final assessment;
  • initiatives in the field of drugs should be primarily focused on achieving the objectives set out in the Action Plan;
  • the EMCDDA and Europol should compare 2003 data in the field of drugs with data for 1999 with a view to the final evaluation of the Action Plan;
  • a conference could be organised in 2004 to involve civil society in the future development of EU drugs policy.

The Commission will prepare a communication on the final evaluation of the Action Plan by the end of 2004.


Communication of 12 November 2003 from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on coordination on drugs in the European Union [COM (2003) 681 final – Official Journal C 96, 21.4.2004].
The Commission, wishing to boost coordination on drugs at European Union level, explains what is needed and what is at stake, pointing to the main existing models of coordination and emphasising the key elements of effective interaction. It recommends, in particular, incorporating all aspects of drug-related policy (social and health aspects, law enforcement measures, youth policy), close cooperation between law-enforcement bodies and coordination between them and social and heath services, and systematic evaluation of strategies and activities in this field.


Communication of 8 June 2001 from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000-2004) [COM(2001) 301 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The main purpose of the communication is to suggest measures to facilitate the evaluation of the Action Plan on Drugs, to outline the method which the Commission intends to use for the evaluation, and to present a number of measures already undertaken as part of the Plan. The communication draws on contributions from the EMCDDA and Europol.

For the purpose of assessing the extent to which the activities proposed in the Action Plan have actually been carried out, the Commission proposes a new instrument – a follow-up table – to ensure proper evaluation.

The evaluation of the impact on drugs and drug addiction will partly depend on information supplied by EMCDDA and Europol. These two organisations have already set up two working groups on impact assessment criteria. However, the Commission notes that, because of the lack of reliable and comparable data on the epidemiological and criminal aspects, the mid-term evaluation of the Action Plan (in 2002) will be limited to the extent to which the Action Plan activities have been carried out.

As regards future enlargement, stepping up the fight against drugs in the applicant countries remains a priority for the Commission. It has launched numerous initiatives in recent years, including opening negotiations on the participation of applicant countries in the EMCDDA’s REITOX network. The Commission also plans to set up a database which would bring together all of information about projects financed by the Member States or the Commission in the applicant countries, in order to avoid duplication.

The European Union will continue its important activities on the external front. Priority will be given to the main routes used for supplying drugs to the European Union (particularly the cocaine route and the heroin route).

Coordination between all those involved is an essential requirement in the fight against drugs. In line with the provisions of the action plan, the Commission has carried out a study of coordination mechanisms in this field. Its report will be presented shortly. There is a need for better coordination between the Member States and the Commission. The Commission will therefore present proposals at the level of the Council’s Horizontal Drugs Group, with a view to the adoption of practical measures.