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Interior Minister Ivan Langer presented EU position as regards Political Declaration on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna

The 52nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs that focuses on the effectiveness of illicit drug control and on the problems that stem from drug abuse and trade started yesterday. 


Within the framework of its Presidency, the Czech Republic has defined several priorities in relation to a rational anti-drug policy. These priorities include, in particular, the following:
  • Defining and enforcing a single EU position regarding the assessment of the results of the ten-year period since the 20th Special Session of the General Assembly on drugs;
  • Developing new indicators for evaluating the results of the fight against offer / repressive measures in the combat against drugs, and their introduction at the EU level with the aim to control and raise the effectiveness of interventions;
  • Improving existing measures and sharing best practices, at the European level, in combating ethnically or culturally homogenous organised groups that are involved in drug trades; and
  • Technical assistance in tackling the drug problem in transit countries, especially in the “Eastern Partnership” countries.

The EU position presented at the Ministerial Segment of the 52nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs completes the achievement of the first priority. “The negotiations were tough but we have reached a single European position in the end”, stated Minister Langer. “I believe this is as an undoubted success of the Czech Presidency and the team in charge of the negotiations.
The Czech Interior Minister used the EU position to emphasise that despite several limited or regional successes (primarily in the EU Member States but also, for instance, in South-East Asia), the global drug problem has neither improved nor stabilised in the last ten years. At the subsequent press conference, Mr. Langer and the representatives of the European Commission and the EU Council highlighted the need for a balanced approach to anti-drug policy that will respect human rights, the rule of law, protection of public order, and public health. He offered the positive experience made by the EU Member States that combine repression, primary prevention, treatment, harm reduction and re-socialisation.
Mr. Langer paid special attention to harm reduction measures, such as needle and syringe exchanges for drug users, substitution treatment for opiate addicts, street work with drug users and other interventions. He added that despite the concerns of some countries that may be motivated by ideology, it has been demonstrated that this approach does not lead to the legalisation of drugs or facilitate drug abuse. To prove this point, Mr. Langer pointed out the vast number of scientific studies, the position of the World Health Organisation and other international authorities that have proved the outstanding effectiveness of harm reduction in preventing the spread of HIV and other illnesses and in reducing mortality rates.
In the concluding part of the EU position, Minister Langer, in line with the priorities of the Czech Presidency, emphasised the need to continuously collect as much standardised scientific data on the drug situation as possible, and the need to promote close international cooperation in fighting drug-related crime. “Without high-quality information, the global community cannot plan truly effective measures, and without close cooperation, the community will be unable to enforce these measures”, emphasised Mr. Langer.
His words found support in the short interventions by the European Commission.
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