PRESS RELEASE FOR THE PUBLIC HEARING ON EU DRUG POLICIES ON 23 FEBRUARY 2010
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On 23 February 2010, a Public Hearing will take place in the European Parliament on the issue of Drug Policy in the European Union. Upon the invitation of Greek MEP Michail Tremopoulos and ENCOD (European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies), approximately 40 representatives of European civil society organisations from 15 different countries will come together to formulate their recommendations to Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council on the future approach that the European Union should take regarding criminalised drugs.
The hearing is held two weeks before the annual meeting of the United Nations Committee on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna. According to the organisers of the hearing, the EU representatives should use the opportunity of the CND meeting to start a serious debate on alternative ways to regulate the drugs market that are not based on prohibition.
The main issue on the agenda of the public hearing will be the “Report on Global Illicit Drugs Markets 1998 – 2007” that was financed by the European Commission in 2008. The study was carried out by a team of respected drug researchers chaired by Prof. Peter Reuter of Rand Corporation, USA and Mr. Franz Trautmann of the Trimbos Institute, Netherlands. It came about after many years in which ENCOD and other civil society organisations had called for an independent evaluation of the impact of worldwide drug prohibition.
The report was published on 10 March 2009. Its conclusions proved the rationale of drug prohibition – as a tool to reduce production, distribution and consumption of “controlled” drugs – to be false. According to the report, control efforts have minimal effects on the global illegal drugs market, the annual value of which is estimated at 300 billion US dollars. At the same time prohibition is a major cause of the increase in violence, corruption, environmental and health damage. These problems are responsible for the death, disease and serious deterioration of life standards of millions of people, consumers, their surroundings and society at large.
In short, the conclusion of the report is that drug policy based on prohibition has done enormous harm and little, if any, good. Prohibition is unjust, ineffective and inhumane. The European Union should be congratulated for having provided the research to establish this conclusion. It should now act upon this knowledge. Ignoring it would be equal to criminal negligence.
Therefore the Public Hearing will call upon European Union institutions to discuss alternative ways to control drugs. Drug policy can be humane, just and effective.
WHEN: 23 February 2010, from 10.00 to 16.00
WHERE: European Parliament, Brussels, Room A1E-3
PROGRAMME OF THE HEARING
10.00 - 12.00: Presentation of the Reuter-Trautmann report
Introductory speeches by Mr. Michail Tremopoulos, MEP GREENS/EFA, Mr. Carel Edwards, head of the Drugs Coordination Unit of the European Commission and Mr. Joep Oomen, ENCOD, followed by debate with the floor.
13.00 - 16.00: Roundtable with Members of European Parliament
Chairs: Mrs. Marisa Felicissimo and Mr. Pedro Quesada
Introductory speech: Mr. Frederick Polak, ENCOD
All participants are invited to give their feedback on the conclusions of the Reuter - Trautmann report and present their own input to the discussion on European drug policy. To this roundtable, various Members of European Parliament of the Committee on Civil Liberties will be invited to participate.
16.30 - 17.00: Press conference, presentation of the results of the hearing.
Press Briefing Room Anna Politkovskaya PHS 0 A 50
Michalis Theodoropoulos (assistant to MEP Michail Tremopoulos) (tel +32 2 - 2847402, +32 2 - 2875402)
Joep Oomen (ENCOD): (tel +32 495 122 644)