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History of the EMCDDA

In October 1989, former French President François Mitterrand proposed to the European Community Heads of State and Government and the President of the European Commission that the EC Member States initiate a seven-step action programme to combat the escalating drugs problem in Europe.

Twenty years earlier, French President Georges Pompidou had taken a similar initiative, but one set in a purely inter-governmental context and outside the Treaty of Rome. Mitterrand, however, proposed an instrument of political co-ordination centred around the Member States and the European Community itself. Central to this concept was the creation of a drug monitoring centre to examine not only the social and health aspects of the drug problem in Europe, but also other related factors, including drug trafficking and penal sanctions.

Following Mitterrand's proposal, an ad hoc political group, the European Committee to Combat Drugs (CELAD), was set up composed of the national drug co-ordinators of the Member States. CELAD drew up the first European Plan to Combat Drugs, adopted by the Council of Ministers of the European Union in Rome in December 1990. The Plan was the first attempt at a programme of coherent action against drugs at both national and Community level, and made recommendations to reduce the demand for drugs, combat illicit trafficking and increase co-ordination at Member State level. The first European Plan was a prelude to real institutional power when the Maastricht Treaty on European Union entered into force in 1993 and included drugs for the first time in an EU treaty. The entry into force on 1 May 1999 of the Treaty of Amsterdam further strengthened the Maastricht provisions.

In June 1991, the European Council meeting in Luxembourg approved the establishment of a European drug monitoring centre. In January 1992, the European Commission submitted a draft Community Regulation setting up such a centre to the European Parliament and Council, and on 8 February 1993 Council Regulation (EEC) no. 302/93 establishing the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction was formally adopted. On 29 October, the European Council meeting in Brussels decided that the Centre should be located in Lisbon, and the Regulation came into force the following day.

During 1994, the Centre's Management Board and Scientific Committee were constituted, the Executive Director was selected and the Centre's premises purchased. On 26 April 1994, the first meeting of the EMCDDA's Management Board was held in Lisbon. The Centre became fully operational in 1995

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 23 October 2012