EMCDDA and Kosovo seal new agreement in Pristina

The EMCDDA and Kosovo* are signing a new Working Arrangement today which will pave the way for greater cooperation on monitoring the drug phenomenon in Europe and beyond its borders. Dignitaries attending the ceremony in Pristina are: Kosovo’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Agim Veliu; Minister of Health, Armend Zemaj; and the new EU Ambassador in Kosovo, Tomaš Szunyog. EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel will participate in the ceremony virtually.

The Working Arrangement originates in a request from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kosovo to the EMCDDA Director in 2018. After receiving the favourable opinion of the European Commission on the draft text in April 2020, the EMCDDA Management Board mandated the Director in June to sign the agreement. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the agreement was formalised through an exchange of letters and will be celebrated in today's ceremony between the EMCDDA and Pristina.

This Working Arrangement is the second to be signed between the EMCDDA and a partner from the Western Balkans (the first being Albania in 2019). The new agreement provides for the exchange of expertise between the entities concerned, thus contributing to developing drug data-collection and reporting capacity in the region.

The EMCDDA began its cooperation with Kosovo in 2009 in the framework of EU-funded technical assistance projects designed to prepare Western Balkan partners for accession to the EU (and for participation in the work of the EMCDDA and its Reitox network).

Kosovo’s current drugs strategy, covering the period 2018–22, foresees the setting up of a drug observatory within the Secretariat for Strategies at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This body will be tasked with gathering information and data from other institutions for analysis and evaluation, in order to prepare analytical reports for the National Drug Coordinator.

Close cooperation between the EMCDDA and Kosovo’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has led, among others, to the financing of a General Population Survey on drug use and attitudes in Kosovo (2014) in line with EMCDDA protocols.

Kosovo is one of the six partners currently receiving assistance under the EMCDDA IPA 7 project, running from July 2019 to June 2022.