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Published: 10 November 2010

Responding to drugs under the Lisbon Treaty

The Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, is meant to provide the European Union with simplified working methods and voting rules, as well as streamlined and modern institutions (1). It also improves the European Union's ability to act in several areas of drug policy.

The trafficking of illicit drugs is addressed in the area of freedom, security and justice (Article 83), which provides for the establishment of minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions. The Treaty allows for the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office, with the possibility of expanding its power to include serious crime having a cross-border dimension (Article 86). This could, eventually, lead to certain drug trafficking offences being prosecuted at EU level.

The Lisbon Treaty also addresses public health and, as in the past, empowers the European Union to complement the Member States’ action to reduce ‘drugs-related health damage including information and prevention’. Under the new article on public health, the European Commission may take initiative, in close contact with the Member States, to establish guidelines and indicators, organise the exchange of best practice, and prepare necessary elements for periodic monitoring and evaluation. This reinforces the work carried out by the Commission and the EMCDDA in these areas.

(1) For more information, see the Treaty of Lisbon on the Europa website.

About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Monday, 18 October 2010