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Nov 24, 2007

ENCODs' Letter To The EC (About The Exclusive Civil Society Forum On Drugs)

Manuel (ENCOD) and Stijn (INPUD)

in the European Parliament

To: Carel Edwards
Head of Drug Coordination Unit
European Commission
B- 1049 Brussels

23 November 2007

Dear Carel Edwards,

Herewith we would like to thank you for your letter of 31 October 2007,
announcing the organisation of the first meeting of the Civil Society
Forum on Drugs in the European Union, on 13 & 14 December 2007.

We note from your letter that 26 organisations have been selected to
participate in this meeting, out of a total of 75 respondents to the
call for applications that expired on 17 August 2007.

Several questions can be raised concerning the selection process for
this forum.

According to the Green Paper on the role of civil society in Drug Policy
in the European Union, published in June 2006, the objective of the
dialogue with civil society is ‘to explore the scope for bringing those
most directly concerned by the drugs problem more closely into the
policy process’ (p.3).

Several important stakeholders in the European drug debate, such as
organisations representing drug consumers, are not (enough) represented
in the current forum. On the other hand, some organisations have been
selected in spite of the fact that they did not participate in the
previous consultation. The same counts for some organisations that, from
a first glance, do not seem to fulfil the eligibility criteria to join
the forum as they were published by the Commission in April this year.

In December 2006, the European Parliament approved a budget increase of
1 million EURO to the 2007 budget for Drugs Prevention and Information.
The specific purpose of this budget increase was to “support dialogue
with civil society on drug policy”. We assume the major part of this
budget increase has yet to be spent, and there ought to be enough margin
in the budget to invite 75 representatives to the two days conference in

In April this year, the European Commission published the key results of
the open consultation with stakeholders that took place through the
Green Paper. One of the six main conclusions of this consultation was:
“The Forum should be inclusive rather than exclusive, with transparent
selection criteria.”

Therefore we wish to make the following enquiries

1. Can the Commission explain what are the reasons for not inviting all
75 organisations that applied to the August 17 deadline to the first
meeting of the Civil Society Forum?

2. Can the Commission indicate, for each organisation that applied to
the August 17 deadline, and for each organisation that ultimately made
it to the selection, the specific reasons for selection and omission
from selection?

We look forward to your responses to these questions, which will help to
ensure the transparency and therefore the legitimacy of the forum.

Best wishes,

ENCOD European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies, Belgium

AKZEPT Bundesverband für akzeptierende Drogenarbeit und humane
Drogenpolitik, Germany

FAUDAS Federación Estatal de Personas Afectadas por la Política de
Drogas, Spain

INPUD International Network of People who Use Drugs, Belgium

LCA Legalise Cannabis Alliance, United Kingdom

PIC Pazienti Impazienti Cannabis, Italy

SDB Stichting Drugsbeleid, Netherlands



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