On the afternoon of 29th May 2012, a number of representatives from civil society organisations from across Europe gathered to discuss the role of the European Union (EU) in leading the debates around reforming the international drug control system. This meeting comes at a time when the EU is drafting its new Drug Strategy for 2013-2020, and when a number of government officials in many regions of the world are calling for a paradigm shift on drug control.

On the morning of 29th May, the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and the Global Commission on Drug Policy organised a seminar directed at Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to discuss the issue, with the participation of two Global Commissioners – Michel Kazatchkine, physician and former Executive Director of the Global Fund, and Pavel Bém, psychiatrist and mayor of Prague, who has played a leading role in designing the current Czech drug policy. The seminar reflected the fact that a number of MEPs, as well as the European External Action Service, now seem interested in drug policy reform. On the other hand, there are signs that the European Commission and the DG-Justice seem more reluctant to support a debate on the drugs issue. 

The afternoon session focused on the conclusions of the report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy and its implication for Europe. The discussions touched upon issues related to the willingness of the EU to engage in meaningful debate around drug policy reform and harm reduction, and strategies that could be implemented to encourage more leadership among EU institutions.

Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.