Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 292 - Drugs trade [10712/08].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 292 - Drugs trade [10712/08]. (11 Mar 2008)

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292. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs  the extent of discussions that have taken place at EU level with a view to discouraging the drug trade in Latin America; the extent to which incentives have been offered in this regard. [10712/08]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Dermot Ahern): Co-operation between the European Union and Latin America in combating the trade in illicit drugs takes place within a well-defined framework, both in terms of policy and institutional mechanisms. EU policy toward illicit drugs is founded on the basic principles adopted under the 1998 Political Declaration of the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS), the current EU Drugs Strategy for 2005-2012, and the EU Action Plan for 2005-2008. The comprehensive approach adopted by the EU focuses on all aspects of combating trade in illicit drugs, including through demand reduction, supply reduction, counter-trafficking and alternative development. At the 1996 EU-Rio Group Ministerial Meeting in Cochabamba, Bolivia, both sides confirmed their intentions to seek a balanced and integrated approach to the problem of illicit drugs, based on the principle of shared responsibility.

In 1998, the EU-Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Co-ordination and Co-operation Mechanism on Drugs was established, providing a formal framework for increased contact and dialogue between the regions. The Mechanism on Drugs meets annually, with regular inter-sessional technical meetings. In 1999, the EU-LAC Co-ordination and Co-operation Mechanism on Drugs adopted the Panama Action Plan, which provides for joint action on demand reduction, alternative development, money laundering and maritime cooperation. Subsequent High Level Meetings of the Mechanism on Drugs have reaffirmed the commitment to the Panama Action Plan in joint declarations emanating from successive annual meetings in Lisbon, Cochabamba (Bolivia), Madrid, Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), Dublin, Lima , Vienna, Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) and, most recently, in Vienna in March 2008. In addition to this Mechanism, the EU-Andean Community (CAN) High Level Specialised Dialogue on Drugs was established in 1995. This Specialised Dialogue on Drugs, which meets annually, provides a unique forum for co-operation and dialogue. Combating the drugs trade is a major focus in the European Commission’s regional programming for Latin America for 2007-2013, as well as in the regional plan for the Andean region and in specific country strategy papers.

The total financial assistance provided by the Commission and Member States to Latin America in this area exceeds €230 million and is second only to the amount provided to Afghanistan to support its counter-narcotic efforts.

Vol. 649 No. 4 Written Answers Tuesday, 11 March 2008

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