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European Commission gets tough on illicit drugs

The European Commission has drawn up proposals for stringent new regulations aimed at combating the growing profusion of illicit by targeting the production and distribution of dual-use chemicals, known as precursors.

Precursors make up the ingredients of illicit drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, in addition to having legitimate applications in the pharmaceutical industry. The European Commission argues that the current 10-year-old system needs major streamlining if it is to combat the profusion and rapidly changing nature of the recreational drugs available on the market, particularly increasingly popular synthetic and ecstasy-type drugs.

“It is important that the should have in place the most effective measures possible on the control of drug precursors,” Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said. “[The proposed measures] will help reinforce the cooperation between member states and industry, which is so essential.”

Liikanen also stressed the importance of putting in place a “user-friendly” system that would not hinder the work of the legitimate drug industry and reduce red tape as the European Union prepares to embrace 10 new members on its eastern flank.

MEPs have reacted positively to the draft proposals. “I consider this an important proposal in the fight against the illegal trade in precursors,” said Dutch Socialist MEP Dorette Corbey, who sits on the Parliament's committee. “By making it a regulation instead of the old directive, a complex and time-consuming implementation process is no longer necessary.”

Corbey stressed the need to ensure that legislation is flexible enough to admit new substances as they appear.

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The Commission has forwarded the draft regulations to the Parliament and the Council of Ministers, but a date for first discussions has yet to be set. The new regulations could take anything between six months and several years to be passed.

The Commission is quietly confident of a fairly smooth passage. “We're changing the legal instrument, not so much the spirit of the legislation,” a spokesman said.

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This article appeared in the 3 October 2002 issue of European Voice.

Author

  • Khaled Diab

    Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil . Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by , Khaled's life has been divided between the and . He grew up in and the UK, and has lived in , on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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Khaled Diab

Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: Islam for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil society. Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled’s life has been divided between the Middle East and Europe. He grew up in Egypt and the UK, and has lived in Belgium, on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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