Partnerships in focus — stakeholders discuss international cooperation ahead of new agency mandate

Strategic partnerships and international cooperation perspectives will be the focus of an EMCDDA stakeholder event taking place in Brussels today, ahead of the agency’s new mandate in 2024. The agency’s cooperation with the Western Balkans and European Neighbourhood Policy area (ENP) will be the topic of two consultative meetings, while a special session will be dedicated to ‘Strategic partnerships today and in the future’. The by-invitation event will take place in the Solvay Library.

In January 2022, the European Commission proposed to strengthen the mandate of the EMCDDA, transforming it into a new EU Drugs Agency (EUDA). Last month, the Council presidency and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a proposed regulation for the EUDA which, among others, will give the agency a stronger international role. Today’s meetings will reflect on this upcoming broader remit. The mandate is expected to enter into force in 2023 and into application in 2024.

Project advisory committee meetings

In January 2023, the EMCDDA launched two new EU-funded projects designed to intensify its cooperation with the two regions. These are the:

  • Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance 8 project (IPA8, Western Balkans); and
  • EU4Monitoring Drugs II (EU4MD II, ENP).

The projects, running until the end of 2026 and 2027 respectively, support national and regional readiness to detect and respond to drug-related health and security threats. They take place within the agency’s mandate for cooperation with third (non-EU) countries. The first IPA8 and EU4MD II project advisory committee (PAC) meetings, taking place today, will agree on the main activities and outputs for the coming years. These consultative bodies support the implementation of the two projects and provide a platform for networking and identifying emerging issues.

Today’s PACs will bring together respectively representatives of the six IPA8 beneficiaries and 13 EU4MD II partners (1)(2). The meetings will act as fora for discussion between the relevant EU services (EC and European External Action Service), the EMCDDA, the project beneficiaries and the relevant intergovernmental organisations and partners.

Videos with testimonials from previous rounds of the projects are available here: 

Strategic partnerships today and in the future

This special session on strategic partnerships will be co-chaired by Peter Mihok (European Commission, DG HOME) and David Lorentzon (Swedish EU Presidency). The session will cover the future mandate of the EU Drugs Agency (EUDA) and new perspectives for international cooperation from the viewpoints of the EC services, IPA and ENP partners.

EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel will present the new mandate and the services to be developed with regard to international cooperation with external partners. Two acting Directors from DG NEAR — Michela Matuella (Western Balkans) and Henrike Trautman, (Southern partnership) — will debate the questions: How do you see the role of the new EUDA in the Western Balkans and European Neighbourhood Policy partners? What are the expectations towards the new EUDA from a European Commission’s perspective?

Partnership is one of the business drivers of the EMCDDA Strategy 2025 (3).

On 20 April, the EMCDDA international cooperation partners from the participating countries will take part in a series of onsite visits organised in cooperation with the Belgian national focal point (Sciensano). These include visits to a low-threshold centre TRANSIT, the National Institute for Criminalistics and Criminology (NICC) and the NFP.