Home > Human rights at the heart of drug policies. 50th anniversary of the Pompidou Group.

Pompidou Group. (2022) Human rights at the heart of drug policies. 50th anniversary of the Pompidou Group. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

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On 6 August 1971, French President Georges Pompidou, addressing the Prime Ministers of the other five countries of the European Economic Community (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands) and the United Kingdom, took the initiative of creating the first platform for European cooperation on drugs. This was a pioneering act: at that time there was no real awareness in Europe of the need for international cooperation in the fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. From the outset, this initiative advocated multidisciplinary action to act on both supply and demand, by associating the ministries of the interior and justice with those of health, education, and youth. This approach was developed throughout the early years of the Pompidou Group’s existence and was consolidated and strengthened when it joined the Council of Europe in March 1980.

Through this integration, the Group adopted the founding values of our Organisation: democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Its influence has gradually spread, reaching 41 member states today, including three non-European countries. And half a century after its creation, the Pompidou Group remains true to the innovative spirit of its founder. Europe and the world have changed a lot in 50 years, but the Council of Europe’s approach remains more relevant than ever to the challenges and issues of our time. The issue of drugs is one of them: it is a major concern in our contemporary societies. The 50th anniversary of the Pompidou Group provides an opportunity to take stock of its achievements, but also to look to the future. By giving the Pompidou Group an ambitious revised Statute on 16 June 2021, the Committee of Ministers has given it the right political and legal framework to make the Council of Europe’s voice heard on the international scene and to stimulate its action in this field.


  • 1969-1971: the genesis of the Pompidou Group p.6
  • Chapter i. 1971-1980 p.9
  • Chapter ii. 1981-1990 p.15
  • Chapter iii. 1991-2000 p.25
  • Chapter iv. 2001-2010 p.35
  • Chapter v. 2010-2020 p.47
  • Afterword p.69
  • References p.71
  • Appendices p.77

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