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European Union Pledges Cooperation in Stopping Drugs


January 1996

Leaders of the European Union (EU) are set to sign an agreement pledging cooperation in strategies and actions to hinder illegal drug trafficking and money laundering (Rory Watson, "New Crackdown on Drug Menace," European Voice, November 30, 1995, p. 1).

The EU is a coalition of 15 countries -- Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom -- that is aiming to bring the countries of Europe closer through establishing common currency and law.

On December 3 in Madrid, leaders of the EU and the United States signed an agreement promising more cooperation between the U.S. and the European Police Office (EUROPOL) in anti-drug activities and interventions. In particular, the agreement seeks to enact a "nowhere to hide" program against members of international crime syndicates using better information exchange and extradition policies.

A more extensive plan is expected to come from an EU meeting in Madrid December 15-16. The renewed pledge from EU leaders may appease U.S. officials, who have expressed frustration about the delays in implementing EUROPOL.

EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Anita Gradin set up a task force on drugs and promised it would be one of her top priorities. "I think it is high time that we collect information on how each member state tackles its drug problem and also discuss how we can work closely together," she said. The European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon is now collecting what is believed will be the most comprehensive data on drug use in Europe. This data should be released by the end of the year.