§ Mr. Wareing
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the United Kingdom's European Economic Community partners about the setting up of a European drugs task force to combat the traffic in illegal narcotics; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Hurd
On 20 October I chaired a meeting of Community Ministers in London, at which we agreed that the Community and its member states have a major role to play in stepping up the fight against drug abuse. We agreed upon a seven-point plan which would be pursued in conjunction with the Council of Europe's Pompidou group, covering:
- (i) measures to reduce demand for drugs, especially among young people;
- (ii) measures to improve the treatment of addicts and rehabilitation services;
- (iii) ensuring that bilateral and Community aid supports as appropriate a recipient country's efforts to combat drug abuse;
- (iv) steps to ensure that legislation takes account of the need to maintain effective control over illicit drug trafficking, particularly at the Community's external frontiers;
- (v) mutual enforcement of confiscation orders relating to drug traffickers' assets;
- (vi) enhanced co-operation between law enforcement agencies involving exchange of drug liaison officers between member states, the posting of drug liaison officers to other countries and the establishment of a world-wide directory of those involved in the fight against drug abuse—this would be achieved by inviting Trevi to examine the scope for creating a coordinated network of drug liaison officers to monitor developments in producer countries;
- (vii) preparation of joint assessments by Community ambassadors in drug producing countries in order to ensure a steady flow of recommendations for action by the Twelve.
Ministers did not discuss the setting up of a European drugs task force; this would be for the Commission to propose if it considered that it fell within Community competence.