Letter from President Mitterrand to EC Heads of Government and to the President of the Commission transmitted on 9 October 1989, proposing to set up a monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction


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.

François Mitterrand proposed that the EC Member States: 

  • establish a common method for analysing drug addiction in Europe leading to the creation of a European drugs monitoring centre;
  • harmonise their policies concerning drug addicts (particularly in the area of prevention);
  • strengthen controls at external borders and develop co-ordination between the Member States involving all services responsible for public security;
  • study the implementation at regional level of the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and accelerate its ratification by all Member States;
  • co-ordinate their policies regarding producer and transit countries and work together to fulfil requests for co-operation from these countries;
  • define a European Community policy on the laundering of drug money in co-operation with the group of 15 countries created to help apply the declaration of the 1989 'Arche' Summit;
  • designate, in each EC country and at the European Commission, an individual with authority to synthesise and reflect on concerns in the fight against drugs. These individuals would meet regularly and work closely with the group of co-ordinators created by the Rhodes European Council for the free circulation of people in the application of the Single Act.

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Additional information 

The attached document is a transcript (in French) of the original letter.

document cover
Organisation (author): 
Government of France
4 February 1989
Open access
François Mitterand
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