A new, two-year technical cooperation project between the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) and countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) kicks off today in Lisbon (1). The project takes place within the EMCDDA’s mandate for cooperation with third (non-EU) countries, as set out in its recast founding regulation in 2006 (2).
The European Commission-funded project, which will run until December 2015, is designed to boost the capacity of ENP partner countries to react to fresh challenges posed by the drug phenomenon. This will be achieved through the exchange of know-how on national drug information systems and observatories and the sharing of information on best practice in demand reduction and on national strategies (including monitoring and evaluation).
The project, which began on 1 January 2014, involves seven countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Morocco and Ukraine. Representatives of national drugs bodies in these countries will attend this week’s official kick-off meeting (5–6 March) and discuss with EMCDDA staff the project goals and planning and a programme of national and regional activities for 2014.
The initiative will provide scientific support for collecting and analysing information as well as producing ad hoc products corresponding to national, EU and EMCDDA needs. An important component of the project will be the exchange of information, working practices and methodology on the identification of new psychoactive substances with project partner countries.
The ENP aims to forge closer ties with countries to the South and East of the EU. Through this policy, the EU seeks to strengthen the prosperity, stability and security of all countries concerned.
Within the ENP, the EU offers its neighbours a privileged relationship, building upon a mutual commitment to common values (democracy and human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development). The ENP includes political association and deeper economic integration, increased mobility and more people-to-people contacts.
Countries from the Eastern and Southern Partnership which have not yet expressed an interest in participating in this technical cooperation project will have an opportunity to join at a later stage.