The reconvened Civil Society Forum on Drugs discussed how to put drug policy back on the EU’s political agenda at its first meeting in Brussels.

The Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) is an expert group of the European Commission, advising decision makers on drug policies. The members of the Forum are selected by the Commission, based on their expertise and knowledge in the field, for a three year mandate. The membership of the new Forum (2018-21) had its first meeting in Brussels, hosted by the Organised Crime and Drug Unit of the DG Home of the EU Commission. More than 40 professionals and activists gathered from all regions of Europe, including some EU candidate countries, to discuss how civil society can contribute to making and evaluating drug policies at the EU level.

Members were welcomed by Floriana Sipala, head of the Unit, who gave an overview of the drug situation and recent policy developments. She highlighted the ongoing external evaluation of the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the most important EU research institution in the drug field based in Lisbon. The evaluation can show the importance of the EMCDDA in these difficult times when there are polarised debates about the future of the EU, and some governments would like to curtail the budget on social and health policies.