EMCDDA and Europol sign 'co-operation agreement'

The EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) and the European Police Office (Europol) signed a Co- operation Agreement in Brussels today during a major meeting on amphetamine-type stimulants held under the auspices of the Belgian Presidency of the EU and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP).

The agreement was signed by Executive Director of the EMCDDA, Georges Estievenart, accompanied by Chairman of the EMCDDA Management Board Mike Trace, and Director of Europol Jürgen Storbeck.

The purpose of the agreement is to enhance co-operation between the two bodies, particularly through the exchange of strategic and technical information. It will help heighten collaboration in areas such as: collecting and analysing data; disseminating information; exchanging technical expertise; and ensuring the most effective use of resources. It could also open the way for joint projects.

The document specifies that: ‘Co-operation between the two organisations shall be limited to drug-related matters and associated illegal money laundering activities, and diversion of chemical precursors, in accordance with their respective mandates...’. Both parties will ensure that information received on the basis of this agreement will be subject to their confidentiality and security standards for the processing of information. No data on individuals or groups of individuals will be exchanged.

The agreement builds on the already strong links between the two organisations in the context of implementing the 1997 Joint action on new synthetic drugs. More recently new steps have been taken in the areas of collecting data on drug seizures; and preparing a methodological tool to evaluate the ongoing EU Action Plan on Drugs (2000–2004).

Today’s meeting ‘Identifying, understanding and responding to the problem of amphetamine- type stimulants (ATS): what solutions?’ took place at the Palais d’Egmont, Brussels. Among the dignitaries attending the event were Belgian Minister of Justice Marc Verwilghen, Belgian Minister of Health Magda Aelvoet, and current Head of the Council’s Horizontal Working Party of Drugs Claude Gillard, also Belgian representative on the EMCDDA’s Management Board.

This Co-operation Agreement enters into force tomorrow, the day on which the EMCDDA launches its 2001 Annual report on the state of the drugs problem in the European Union at the European Parliament in Brussels.