Newsbrief: European Union Presidency Calls for Frank Discussion of Drug Laws 6/13/03

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In an address to the European Union's Dublin Group on drug policy, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou called for a frank discussion of drug laws "without taboos." Papandreou was speaking on behalf of the Greek government, which now holds the presidency of the European Council. The council, which represents the governments of Europe, and the European Parliament, together form the political institutions of the European Union (EU).

The EU must formulate a common drug policy, Papandreou said, and must begin a debate that is open and frank. "If we do not speak openly, if we do not discuss these issues without taboos, we shall not be able to achieve effective solutions. The more open and frank we are, I believe the more easily we shall be able to arrive at certain joint positions." Noting a "polarization" between countries with more lenient policies and those favoring existing international drug conventions, Papandreou called for rising above rhetoric and "ascertaining what works and what must be changed." That dialogue would, of necessity, include the US, "the leader in the area of anti-narcotics policies," Papandreou said.

The Greek foreign minister gave his imprimatur to harm reduction policies, despite the opposition with which they are greeted in some member countries. "I continue to believe that it is a justified approach, but there is some ambiguity which allows certain misconceptions and criticism by international narcotics control agencies of the practices adopted in certain countries, as well as hesitation on the part of other countries to adopt measures which have proven effective."

Papandreou also told attendees that decriminalizing drug use was becoming increasingly accepted and that "we must examine this issue, to see how we will deal with users."

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Issue #291, 6/13/03 Editorial: The Rule of Law | Global Social Forum Meeting in Cartagena to Draw Broad Spectrum of Global Activists for Colombia Focus -- DRCNet Will Be There | Anatomy of a Victory: How Reformers Rolled Back Souder and the Drug Czar | Ontario Marijuana Laws in the Twilight Zone | Jacksonville Hemp Fest Marred by Police Violence, Warrant Issued for Organizer for Obstructing (In)Justice | Drug Reform and the Democratic Presidential Nominating Process | Sad Day in the Medical Marijuana Movement: Medical Marijuana Patient and Activist Cheryl Miller Passes Away at 57 | DRCNet Urgently Needs Your Donations -- Sullum Book Offer Still Going | This Week in History | Newsbrief: European Union Presidency Calls for Frank Discussion of Drug Laws | Newsbrief: Demonstrations Mark Thailand Drug War Killings | Newsbrief: Oregon Medical Marijuana Provider Gets Prison Time | Newsbrief: Drug Czar Declares War on Summer | Newsbrief: Supreme Courts Again Says No to Cincinnati Drug Zone Ban Law | The Reformer's Calendar

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