European Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King pays his first visit to the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) today, as part of a two-day round of meetings in Lisbon, taking in the Portuguese Parliament, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the Web Summit (1). During his visit, Commissioner King will meet EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel and the agency’s experts in the area of security.
The European security agenda highlights the need to understand the interactions that exist between drug-related crime and the operation of the drug market as well as other areas of criminality, the activities of organised criminal groups and additional serious security threats. The latest EMCDDA–Europol EU Drug Markets Report, showed that threats in this area are increasing, partly because of the changing business models used by transnational organised crime groups.
The EMCDDA’s long-term strategic vision is to contribute to a ‘healthier and more secure Europe’ by providing sound evidence for policies and actions on drugs. The EMCDDA Strategy 2025 states that: ‘Identifying new drug-related security threats and transmitting this information rapidly, so that appropriate responses can be developed, is a key requirement for Europe to keep pace with the growing security challenges emerging in this area’ (2).
During the meeting, EMCDDA experts will present to Commissioner King the agency’s contribution to the EU Policy Cycle on Serious Organised International Crime, based on its strategic overview of the EU drug market, including drug production and trafficking and current threat assessment work linked to new synthetic opioids (particularly new fentanils). The meeting will also cover the challenges of darknets, ahead of an EMCDDA–Europol report on the subject to be published later this month (3).
A key strategic challenge for the EMCDDA is to continue to develop the information and analytical tools necessary to identify significant new developments and to boost its observational capacity to address innovation. This is particularly important with respect to synthetic drug production and how information technology developments are providing new opportunities for the production, marketing and sale of both established drugs and new psychoactive substances.