The Council of the EU (Foreign Affairs) approved on 21 June the EU Drugs Action Plan for 2021–2025. The new plan presents the concrete actions needed to achieve the priorities of the EU Drugs Strategy, adopted in December 2020.
The action plan sets out a specific timetable for these actions, a list of responsible parties and a series of indicators to measure effectiveness. The plan was prepared by national and EU representatives on the Council’s Horizontal Working Party on Drugs (HDG) under the Portuguese Presidency of the EU.
With the current EU Drugs Strategy, the EU and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to a balanced, evidence-based approach to address the drug phenomenon in Europe, with the preservation of human rights at its core. The strategy draws on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic in the drugs area and takes a future-oriented approach, promoting research, innovation and foresight to respond more effectively to, and anticipate, forthcoming challenges.
25 activists, youth leader and youth workers, preferably members of civil society organisations
Aged 18 to 28
Young people from or those working with the youth from groups at increased risk
Interested in learning how to cooperate in multicultural settings
Able to communicate and write in English
Willing to work as multipliers of experience and results through visibility and dissemination activities, before, during the project actitivies, including the reporting phase, and after the project
A participants group with an appropriate geographic, gender, national and balance of members from or working with various groups of youth at risk
What we expect from the participants:
Complete pre-tasks and participate in the follow-up activities of the project
Attend all sessions and activities during the both Workshops
Agree and understand that the project partners are responsible and coordinators for this project and will not challenge or create any issues that will influence its flow
Bring along personal items as requested by the organisers of the activities (i.e. clothes, shoes, medicins in case of health issues, etc.)
Participate in promoting visibility of the project
Participate in the production of the deliverables of the project
Be active on dissemination of the results as a multiplier of new experiences, info and knowledge
Provide all necessary documents (invoices, visa expenses, travel reservations, ID copies, boarding passes, etc)
The structure of the project workshops is highly intensive and demanding, plus requires full attendance and participation. The workshops starts at 9:30 am and will end around 8:00 pm with regular breaks for refreshments, meals and personal needs. Therefore, youths who will attend as participants need to show responsibility commitment during their participation. The topic of the project is related to many indoor activities and less outdoor. Any extra hours for touring around besides the free time as they are mentioned in the timetable are not eligible.
If the protection measures in the countries where the activities are held prohibit gatherings of large groups, the Workshops 1 and 2 will be provided online.
Also, work with youth from groups at increased risk during the project may be challenging, but the project partners will provide support from experienced staff.
If interested, the Open Call is available following this link>>>. Please, share this information as wide as possible around the region.
The application forms is available at the web pages and social media of the project partners. Each project partner is eligible to select up to 5 participants in the project.
The new EU for Health program (EU4Health 2021-2027) is the new a vision for a healthier European Union. It is EU’s response to COVID-19, which has had a major impact on medical and healthcare staff, patients and health systems in Europe. EU4Health will make a significant contribution to the post-COVID-19 recovery by making the EU population healthier, supporting the fight against cross-border health threats and boosting the EU’s preparedness and capability to respond effectively to future health crisis, as part of a future strong European Health Union.
By investing €5.1 billion, therefore becoming the largest health programme ever in monetary terms, EU4Health will provide funding to EU countries, health organisations and NGOs
Today’s entry into force of the EU4Health programme follows the Council adoption on 17 March and the vote on the programme by the European Parliament on 9 March.
The EU4Health Programme is an ambitious and dedicated funding programme for 2021-2027 to ensure a high level of human health protection in all Union policies and activities in keeping with the One Health approach. The Programme, proposed by the Commission on 28 May 2020, is the EU’s response to COVID-19, which has had a major impact on medical and healthcare staff, patients and health systems in the EU. EU4Health is the largest EU health programme ever in monetary terms and will provide funding to EU countries, health organisations and NGOs.
EU4Health aims to:
Improve and foster health in the Union;
Protect people in the Union from serious cross-border threats to health;
Enhance the availability, accessibility and affordability of medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products;
Strengthen health systems, their resilience and resource efficiency.
One of the specific objectives of the program defines that: in synergy with other relevant Union actions, supporting actions for disease prevention, for health promotion and for addressing health determinants, including through the reduction of damage to health resulting from illicit drug use and addiction, supporting actions to address inequalities in health, to improve health literacy, to improve patient rights, patient safety, quality of care and cross-border healthcare, and supporting actions for the improvement of the surveillance, diagnosis and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases, in particular cancer and paediatric cancer, as well as supporting actions to improve mental health, with special attention given to new care models and the challenges of long term care, in order to strengthen the resilience of the health systems in the Union.
Also, actions meeting the objectives include:
Supporting actions to complement measures of Member States in reducing damage to health due to illicit drug use and addiction, including information and prevention.
The first work programme for 2021 will be adopted and rolled out by the Commission following consultation with Member States in the EU4Health Steering Group as set out in the EU4Health Regulation. The programme will be implemented by a new executive agency, the Health and Digital Executive Agency.
The European Commission launched a process of evaluation of the current EU drugs strategy. The Commission seeks to gather input from a broad range of stakeholders, including public authorities and administrations at national, regional and local levels including customs and law enforcement, academia, anti-drugs and health related civil society and non-governmental organisations, chemical and medical industry representatives, practitioners involved in the drugs or health policy fields and private individuals. Anyone affected by illicit drug use is especially welcome to respond to this public consultation.
The objective of this consultation is to gather stakeholders’ feedback on the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 and the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017-2020, as they are approaching the end of their cycle.
The consultation addresses all main policy areas of the Drugs Strategy, including drug demand and drug supply reduction and three cross-cutting themes, namely coordination, international cooperation and information, research and evaluation. Similar to the entire evaluation exercise, the consultation looks at the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance and coherence of the actions undertaken to cover the areas mentioned, as well as at the achieved EU added value.
A synopsis of the responses received will be included in the Staff Working Document that will be produced to summarise the findings of the evaluation. The final results of the evaluation will be used by the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council and Member States in the future decision-making process regarding drug policy.
Questionnaires are available in some or all official EU languages. One can submit your responses in any official EU language.
For reasons of transparency, organisations and businesses taking part in public consultations are asked to register in the EU’s Transparency Register.
The deadline for consultations is 4 February 2020.
The EU announced a €550 million pledge to The Global Fund during the G7 summit in Biarritz. European Council President Tusk, representing the EU at this year’s G7, made the announcement. It comes ahead of the Global Fund donors’ conference that will take place in October in Lyon, as more support is needed so that developing countries can improve their health systems, reach universal health coverage and help end the 3 epidemics by 2030.
The Global Fund seeks to raise at least €12.6 billion (US$14 billion) for the period 2020-2022. By 2023, these funds should help save an additional 16 million lives, avert 234 million infections, cut the mortality rate from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in half, and build stronger health systems.
Today’s pledge is made under the assumption that the EU’s new Multiannual Financial Framework for the period from 2021-2027 and the new external action instrument, which would provide the budget for today’s pledge, are adopted broadly along the lines proposed by the European Commission.
On top of the overall €1.3 billion contributions made to global initiatives such as the Global Fund, the Global Vaccination Alliance (GAVI) or the WHO’s universal health coverage partnership, the EU’s development cooperation supports with additional €1.3 billion the health sector in 17 countries (mostly in Africa) during the period 2014-2020.
In global health, the EU focuses on equitable and accessible health care, sustainability of health systems, human rights, women and girls, and private sector engagement.
For more Information about the EU and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria partnership, follow this link>>>
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) issued today their regular annual European Drug Report. The Report provides a comprehensive analysis of recent drug use and market trends across the European Union (EU), Norway and Turkey.
The 2019 report highlights in particular an increase in cocaine availability with seizures at a record high, amounting to 140.4 tonnes, double the quantity seized in 2016 (70.9 tonnes). Although the retail price of cocaine remained stable, its purity at street level reached its highest level in a decade in 2017.
The report notes the “Uberization” of the cocaine trade, where users and dealers use smartphones, messaging apps and satellite navigation to obtain the drug. Enterprising criminals have set up “cocaine call centres” across Europe to provide fast and flexible delivery services.
Heroin is still the most common illicit opioid on the drug market in Europe and is a major contributor to drug-related health and social costs. The quantity of heroin seized in the EU increased by over a tonne in 2017 to 5.4 tonnes, with an additional 17.4 tonnes seized by Turkey (some of which would have been destined for the EU market). Laboratories producing heroin from morphine using this precursor have been discovered in recent years in EU countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Spain and the Netherlands). Heroin purity remains high and the retail price relatively low.
Belgium has overtaken Spain as the hub of the fast-growing European drug market. Belgium is playing an enlarged role in both the distribution and production markets of cocaine, methamphetamines and other illicit drugs, such as ketamine and GBL. The report also shows that Belgium, together with the Netherlands, is one of the main production centres for MDMA.
The Report also explores the challenges associated with new synthetic opioids, the latest developments in the cannabis market and synthetic drug production in Europe. Production of synthetic drugs appears to be ‘growing, diversifying an The purity of methamphetamine and amphetamine is higher than a decade ago, with 0.7 tonnes of methamphetamine and 6.4 tonnes of amphetamine seized in the EU in 2017. d becoming more innovative’ with methamphetamine posing the “greatest challenge”.
Legal recreational cannabis markets in some countries outside the EU were leading to “innovative” new products that presented difficulties for detection and control when entering the continent. The report points to fentanyl as a problem drug in Estonia, buprenorphine in Finland and the Czech Republic and methadone in Germany and Denmark. 11 new synthetic opioids were detected in 2018, including six new fentanyl derivatives. Since 2009, there have been 34 fentanyl derivatives detected in Europe, the EU agency says.
One in five people entering drug treatment facilities for an opioid-related problem “now reports a synthetic opioid, rather than heroin, as their main problem drug; and these drugs are becoming more commonly detected in drug overdose cases”. Around 8.200 people died of an overdose in Europe in 2018, according to the Report, around 300 more than in 2017. Most of the overdoses were not due to cocaine or other drugs, but rather opioids (heroin-induced), which made up 78% of all deaths. Researchers say the number of deaths could be 20% to 30% higher due to potential underreporting by member states. The spread of HIV has decreased by 40% over the past decade.
Providing people who inject heroin, or other drugs, with greater access to prevention, testing and treatment for HBV and HCV is central to combating viral hepatitis as a public health threat in line with the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as they are the people with the highest burden of disease and at highest risk of transmission.
Mobile health applications are increasingly used in prevention, treatment and harm reduction.
The Working Arrangement originates in a request from the Albanian Ministry of the Interior to the EMCDDA Director in 2017 and follows the seal of approval of the European Commission and EMCDDA Management Board. While the agency has signed similar agreements with other third countries, this is the first request of its kind from the Western Balkans. The new agreement provides for the exchange of expertise between the entities concerned and will contribute to developing drug data-collection and reporting capacity in the country.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship in the European Commission, emphasised that “the Agreement will strengthen the cooperation to develop the right common policies to address drug trafficking in our regions and will pave the way for similar arrangements in the Western Balkans.”
The EMCDDA began its cooperation with Albania in 2007 in the framework of EU-funded technical assistance projects designed to prepare Western Balkan countries for accession to the EU (and for participation in the work of the EMCDDA and its Reitox network. The EMCDDA and Albania are currently working together to consolidate Albania’s capacity to monitor the drug phenomenon through the use of evidence-based tools and knowledge built and promoted within the EU. They also exchange data on new psychoactive substances as well as expertise on establishing a national early-warning system.
The Serbian Justice Ministry has published a draft of its revised Action plan for Chapter 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights – in the country’s pre-accession negotiations with the European Union. The draft was published on the ministry’s web site along with an invitation for comments. The deadline for comments is 8 February.
The first draft of the revised Action Plan for Chapter 23 was presented at the round table held on 6 February 2019 in Belgrade. Representatives of judicial institutions, civil society organizations and international institutions attended.
The round table was organized with the support of the European Union, which financed the project “EU Justice – Support for Chapter 23”.
The DPNSEE Executive Director participated in the round table. It was an opportunity to meet and exchange with colleagues, especially with those from the Office for Gender equality and Association of Judges and Prosecutors of Serbia.
With the support from the Central European Initiative (CEI) and funded through the European Union project, The Drug Policy Network South East Europe organised regular annual General Assembly on 10 December 2018 in The Palace of Serbia, in Belgrade, Serbia.
The participants held voting rights from 16 out of 22 ordinary member organisations. That provided the Assembly with the right to make qualified decisions, even those related to the amendments to the Statute.
During the agenda point on membership issues, candidatures for membership from two organisations were discussed. The Assembly unanimously recognised as ordinary members Timok Youth Centerfrom Zaječar, Serbia and Center for Human Policy from Sofia, Bulgaria. The Network now has 24 ordinary and 2 associate member organisations.
The General Assembly discussed the Operational and financial report for 2018 and elements for the Action plan and the Financial plan for 2019. The General Assembly welcomed the reports. They will be completed with the activities in December and then be adopted. The Assembly analysed the donor and funding trends and issues and concluded that, based on donor research, negotiation and exchange, no funding from EU for the Network can be expected for 2019 and some amounts can be obtained for year 2020, more project based. Funding plans and activities and possible issues that might be funded in 2019 include budget advocacy, the Network being the leader on the issue of quality of services in the region, redefining harm reduction and human rights element of the approach in work. The need for greater participation in relevant international events and DPNSEE taking role in organizing regional events were emphasized.
Nine candidates applied for elections to the DPNSEE Board. The new Board includes Anna Lyubenova from Initiative for Health Foundation, Denis Dedajić from Margina, Marios Atzemis from Positive Voice, Nebojša Đurasović from Prevent, Safet Blakaj from Labyrinth, Sanja Šišović from Cazas and Vlatko Dekov from HOPS.
The Assembly decided to keep at the current positions Vlatko Dekov as the President, and Nebojša Đurasović as Vice-President.
An external consultant Jarmila Bujak Stanko facilitated the strategic workshop through which participants analysed achievement of aims and objectives of the strategic plan adopted in 2016 and indicated in which way and by which activities the priorities will be followed in the next two years.
The General Assembly ended in a positive and friendly atmosphere with an improved sense of belonging to the Network.
The final conference of project LADDER was held in Strasbourg on 21 – 22 November 2017, and constituted a key opportunity to create new bonds and strengthen existing partnerships for the localisation of SDGs in the next years.
The conference marked three years of joint work within an extremely ambitious project, co-funded by the European Union and led by ALDA, gathering 27 partners and 19 associates from 19 EU and 17 non EU-countries. The unanimous commitment to continue the great work done so far in the field of development education is a great satisfaction for all of us, as well as the sign of LADDER’s sustainability.
The event, hosted by the Council of Europe and by the Region Grand Est, was opened by the welcome speech of Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA, and Alina Tatarenko, Head of the Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform of the Council of Europe.
Diogenis actively participated in both the program and its final meeting. The project that was implemented in Athens and Thessaloniki by Diogenis last May, entitled “Drugs & SDGs: Development and Harm Reduction Policies”, under the auspices of the municipalities of Agios Dimitrios, Athens and Thessaloniki, accounted for the highest graduation rate during the evaluation of proposals due to its innovative approach.
The Strasbourg meeting, in addition to the project review, included work in groups, aimed at demonstrating and making proposals to local governments, on new actions to implement SDGs at the local level with the active involvement of civil society organizations.