The EU drugs agency Management Board kicked off a two-day meeting in Lisbon today, holding elections for Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board (1).
Laura d’Arrigo (France), Diplomatic advisor at the French Interministerial Mission for Combating Drugs and Addictive Behaviours (Mission interministérielle de lutte contre les drogues et les conduites addictives — MILDECA) was elected Chair for the next three years. Ms d’Arrigo has been member of the Board since December 2013 and is the first woman to hold the position.
After several years working for the EU institutions, in particular the European Commission, Ms d’Arrigo was entrusted by the French authorities in 2007 to contribute to implementing and coordinating French foreign policy in the drugs field, both at bilateral and multilateral level. Between 2010 and 2014, she chaired the Permanent Correspondents of the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe.
Ms d’Arrigo takes over the role from João Goulão (Portugal) who has held the position since 2009 and whose mandate ends on 31 December this year. A member of the Management Board since 2005, Mr Goulão served as Chair for two terms (2010–12 and 2013–15).
Franz Pietsch (Austria) was elected to the position of Vice-Chair today. Mr Pietsch, who has been a member of the Board since 2002, is representative of Austria regarding international matters of addiction and drug issues and Deputy Director-General and Head of Department for Tobacco, Alcohol, Non-substance-related Addictions and International Affairs of Addiction.
He takes over from Claude Gillard (Belgium), founding member of the agency, who held the position for two terms (2010–12 and 2013–15) and whose mandate comes to a close this month. Mr Gillard, a Board member since 1994, has also chaired the EMCDDA Budget Committee since 2003.
EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz congratulated the new Chair and Vice-Chair and paid tribute to João Goulão and Claude Gillard for their ‘inspiration, collaboration and untiring commitment to steering the Board over the past six years with the utmost transparency and efficiency’.
In turn, João Goulão thanked Mr Götz for his dedication over the past 10 years in boosting the scientific performance and efficiency of the agency and providing policymakers with evidence-based information for a more informed and reasoned debate on the drugs problem. Through his focus on international cooperation, Mr Götz had nurtured and furthered the reputation of the EU agency as a globally recognised centre of excellence on drugs.
Mr Götz will retire from the agency on 31 December 2015 having headed the agency since 1 May 2005. Alexis Goosdeel (Belgium) takes up the post on 1 January 2016 following elections of the Board in September (2).
At today’s meeting, the Board gave its final seal of approval on the agency’s 2016 budget and work programme and its strategy and work programme for 2016–18. The Board also renewed the mandate of its current Scientific Committee for the period 2017–19 (3).