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Nov 29, 2007

The European Commission's reply to our letter 'Citizens request for an answer'

Dear friends and colleagues,

We received a reply to our letter for the European Commission 'Citizens request for an answer' (about the exclusion of people who use drugs in EU drugs policy making) from Mr. Carel Edwards, head of the EC's unit Drugs Policy Coordination. (read EC's reply below this message)

As you can read, Mister Edwards isn't answering to our questions.

We're now preparing a next reply and request for answers.

All the best,

Stijn Goossens
Executive Director

International Network Of People Who Use Drugs

Subject: Citizens request for an answer/INPUD



(ref: DGJLS-C2/TJ/md/D(2007)16758)

Dear Mr Goossens,

Thank you very much for your message addressed to the European Commission and for your interest in the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs.

As you have noticed, the total number of applicants for this Forum far exceeds the maximum number of participants set in the report on the open consultation on the Commission's Green Paper on the role of civil society in drugs policy in the European Union. Therefore, a selection had to be made, based on the criteria set out in the Green Paper itself and in the subsequent report, from among eligible organisations like yours. Organisations not selected at this point will be kept informed of all the activities of the Forum and may be considered for membership in the future.

As far as your organisation is concerned, we would like, in particular, to draw your attention to the criterion that the organisations participating should have a clear track record of activities and to point out that your organisation has only just been founded, earlier this year.

In response to your specific questions:

1) and 2) Many of the organisations selected represent the views of those "most directly concerned by the drugs problem", including drug users. Many of the organisations are aiming to reduce drug-related harm both to the individual and to society as a whole.

This is in line with one of the main conclusions drawn from the Green Paper and the subsequent report, namely that the Forum should represent a wide spectrum of views in a balanced way. As stated in the Green Paper, the objective of the Commission "is not to create a civil society assembly as a platform of various ideologies but to create a practical instrument to support policy formulation and implementation through practical advice".

3) The EU Drugs Strategy (2005-2013) and the EU Action Plan (2005-2008) call for an evidence-based, balanced and integrated approach on drugs. The Commission produces annual progress reports on implementation of the Action Plan and in 2008 it will conduct an evaluation of the current Action Plan with a view to proposing a new Action Plan for 2009-2013. Both the Strategy and the Action Plans fully respect the fundamental rights of EU citizens and the principles of law. Holding a structured dialogue with civil society at European level is one way of ensuring this.

I hope that you find these answers helpful. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with your organisation in the future.

Kind Regards,

Carel Edwards
Head of unit Drugs Policy Coordination
DG Justice, Freedom and Security
Mail: LX 46 01/83, BE 1049 Brussels
tel. + 32 2 295 95 38



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