The following notes are summaries of the EU Horizontal Working Party on Drugs discussions about Bolivia’s coca amendment and denunciation of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, taken from the reports of their meetings since September 2010.
The seminar entitled “Modernising the global drug control system – Can Europe lead?” was organised in the European Parliament by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), and the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and co-hosted by the Member of European Parliament (MEP) Nikos Chrysogelos. The event aimed to present the recommendations of the Global Commission and discuss the role that the European Union (EU) could play in current drug policy reform debates taking place within Europe and around the world. The seminar also comes at a time when the EU is working on drafting a new Drug Strategy to replace the one that will expire at the end of 2012.
In recent years of global debate on policies and strategies on controlled drugs, the European institutions (European Commission and Council, and the EMCDDA) and member states have broadly been a progressive and civilizing factor in pushing for balanced, evidence based and humane drug policies and programmes. However, just when the wider global debate is shifting in accordance with these principles, and there are real political opportunities to create more balanced, humane and effective drug policies, there are worrying signs that the European institutions are taking a wrong turn – the vision and leadership on this issue is notably absent, and some of the more recent positions taken seem to indicate a return to the simplistic messages and priorities of the failed policies of the past.