The Joint ministerial Forum of Ministers of Justice and Home affairs of the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans, adopted on 19-20 December 2013, in Budva, Montenegro a Joint Declaration on enhancing cooperation on drugs and renew the commitments of the EU-Western Balkans Action plan on drugs (2009-2013). The Action plan on Drugs between the EU and the countries in the Western Balkans has been adopted during the Greek Presidency of the EU by the Council of the European Union in June 2003. The action plan aimed at creating a cohesive framework for cooperation between the EU, the candidate Member States and the Western Balkan States, to implement a number of EU programs on strengthening security and stability in the region. In June 2008, the European Council reaffirmed its full support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans. The European Commission and the member states agreed to update the Action plan and in July 2009 the Council approved the new Action Plan 2009-2013. Among others, this plan prioritised the participation of civil society in policy making and other activities especially in the field of Demand reduction.
The Drug Policy Network in South East Europe where 15 organisations of the 10 countries in the region are cooperating, point out in their Open letter to the ministers that in assessing the plan’s actual implementation of the past four years little has been done in the area of drug demand reduction. “There is hardly anything to be found in the reports on the implementation of this part of the work plan” note the Network organisations; they express their concern about this and propose to actively co-operate with the EU and the Western Balkan countries to seek ways to implement the activities on demand reduction described in the work plan.
The Network organisations are reminding the ministers that they have committed themselves to “support programmes and campaigns aimed at informing on the risk of drugs and raising public awareness, including by projects which involve the civil society” and conclude that they are willing to co-operate with the EU and the Western Balkan countries to implement activities of the Work plan and they would appreciate an invitation from the EU and the Western Balkan Countries to mutually explore possibilities of future co-operation.
You can read the open letter here.