The current EU strategy to fight drugs along the heroin routes has been established in accordance with the EU Drugs Action Plan 2009-2014 which sets out clearly the actions to be taken over the five years period by the EU Institutions and the Member States.
The Action Plan 2009-2012 builds on the existing approach of the EU Drugs Strategy 2005-2012 which set out a European model for drug policy based on a balanced approach to reduce both supply and demand for drugs. The five main priorities of the new Action Plan include reducing the demand for drugs and raising public awareness, mobilising European citizens, reducing the supply of drugs, improving international cooperation and facilitating a better understanding of the drug phenomenon.
According to EU Action Plan’s point 4 on external action:
The effectiveness of EU, the world's major donor in the struggle for sustainable solutions to the global drug problem, would benefit greatly from better coordination of national and Community policies. We are ready to intensify our commitment in the field of international cooperation to this end, while reaffirming that effective drug control must be based on the concept of a ‘balanced approach’ — emphasizing that illicit drug cultivation is an important component of drug supply.
Considering that Afghanistan remains the main heroin producer in the world despite actions undertaken by the international community to eradicate drug production, the long-term objective is to set up a system of "filters" between the main source of opiates and heroin, Afghanistan, and Western Europe.
To achieve this objective, a number of technical assistance programmes and initiatives have been put in place either directly by programmes earmarked to fight drugs or by complementary initiatives to reinforce customs and border control in the NIS, Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe.
Tacis Drug Action Programmes
Three drug action programmes or "filters" have been put in place in the NIS region i.e. CADAP (Central Asia Drug Action Programme), SCAD (South Caucasus Action Drug Programme) and the BUMAD (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova Action Drug Programme).
The idea behind the regional approach is to help the beneficiary countries to intercept the drug trafficking along the major routes by strengthening the land and sea border posts including international airports most affected by the problem and at the same time help the countries to cope with the vast expansion of drug use (and HIV/AIDS infection) that represents a serious impediment to peace and development.
The philosophy of the three umbrella programmes CADAP, SCAD and BUMAD is to adopt a coherent approach in all three regions by using the same methodology, experts, and practices but at the same time adjust each individual programme to match the particular circumstances of each region.
Moreover, these programmes are developed in accordance with the programme model developed by the Commission under Phare in Bulgaria and Romania in co-operation with UNDCP from 1997 until 2001.
First filter: CADAP
The first filter, the CADAP programme, is currently supporting four of the five Central Asian States i.e. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
The CADAP programme started in January 2001 with the establishment in the EC Delegation in Almaty of a European Union Drug Co-ordinator for Central Asia. Currently the programme is in its IV phase.
Second and third filters: SCAD, BUMAD and assistance to Russia
Co-operation with the Southern Caucasus and the Western NIS is based on the same instruments as mentioned above and include the same main components i.e. legal assistance, border control, intelligence and demand and harm reduction.
The second filter, SCAD, started in January 2001 and is supporting Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
The third filter, BUMAD, covering Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova started most recently with the signature of the first contract in December 2002.
The SCAD and BUMAD programmes are both implemented by the UNDP via its field offices in all the countries in the two regions. Some of the activities e.g. legal assistance activities have been given to UN ODC.
Tacis Border Management Programmes
The development of border management programmes in all the Tacis region contributes to the fight against trans-border criminal activities.
Such programmes are co-ordinated with the anti-drugs and anti-organised crime projects on the three filters, notably with the prospective of wider Europe in Ukraine/Moldova but, from now, also in Central Asia.
The Commission is launching a large management programme in Central Asia ( BOMCA, 22M€) with the support of a Consortium of 6 Member States and Candidate countries (A, F,SP, Fin, UK, Pol) and of the US State Department. The programme will include several components related to the fight against drug trafficking:
Links between Customs and Anti-Drug Trafficking Programmes
The budget allocations for customs programmes are additional to those for the improvement of border management and the fight against drug trafficking. Although the customs modernisation programmes in general are aiming at an overall reform of the customs services and are thus not specifically targeted at anti-drugs activities, the results will contribute significantly to the improvement of customs law and practice as well as increasing the overall capacity of the services in question, and will therefore enhance the efforts of combating drugs.
Tacis Customs Programmes
All Tacis customs projects include elements which will improve the capacity to combat drug trafficking, and close coordination with the drugs-related projects will be ensured.
The EC Tacis Indicative Programme for Central Asia 2002-2004 foresees 13 million € for the modernisation of the five Central Asian Customs Services (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).
With the exception of Belarus, customs modernisation programmes are either on-going or planned for the remaining Tacis countries. Azerbaijan will benefit from an 800.000 € project. In Georgia an 850.000 € project is under implementation. In Moldova a 500.000 € project is nearly delivered and another 1 Mio € is foreseen. For Russia a total of 5 Mio € has been contracted for the 1998 and 1999 budgets and another 1 Mio € is due to be contracted under the 2000 budget. Also Ukraine has received customs assistance in the previous years and another 3 Mio € will be contracted under the 2000 and 2002 budgets. For most of these countries also the Indicative Programmes for 2004-6 include assistance in customs. However, the precise amounts will have to be defined at a later stage.
Cards Customs Programmes
The CARDS Programme allocates substantial sums to the customs reform and modernisation programmes of the Western Balkans countries. On going and planned technical assistance amounts to some €10m annually for Bosnia and Herzegovina, €2m annually for Albania, € 2,5m annually for Kosovo, € 5m annually for Serbia, € 1m annually for Montenegro, and a € 4m project in FYROM has just started. For decades the Balkan route has been known as a transit road for smuggling heroin from the Middle and Far East to Europe. The CARDS customs programmes contribute significantly in combating drugs by assisting the border and inland customs control teams. The customs programmes also contribute by assisting in the setting up and running of investigation and intelligence units, suggesting if necessary changes in legislation, and by supporting the exchange of information between the different customs services in the region.
Other Initiatives covering the Balkan States
Unlike the Tacis programmes, the CARDS programme in the area of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) has not focussed so far on specific actions such as ‘drug routes’, ‘trafficking in human beings’ or ‘terrorism’. Instead, it addresses horizontally the strengthening of law enforcement institutions of the Western Balkans countries which deal with these phenomena, aiming to enhance the capacities of law enforcement or judiciary institutions to tackle these problems within each country through the provision of training or specialised equipment, or assistance in drafting relevant legislation and strategic advice.
Some actions aim to strengthen the capacity of these institutions for international co-operation in the fight against transnational criminality, including for instance projects to modernise the National Central Bureaus (NCBs) of Interpol, the creation of networks for the exchange of police information, or the regional-level justice or police training. Some specific actions provide specialised training in money laundering, or the creation / strengthening of services specialising in criminal analysis and police intelligence, and therefore also have a clear impact on the fight against drugs.
In addition, in the specific area of Integrated Border Management, the Regional CARDS programme has allocated €119 million to this area for the period 2002 –2004. These allocations target institution building as well as works and supply of equipment to the areas of border control, trade facilitation and border region cooperation.
The main programmes in the area of border control focus on capacity building within the relevant national ministries and departments, harmonisation of relevant legislation, elaboration of strategies and action plans, restructuring of services, development of procedures for border management, training of staff, development of IT information & communication systems, upgrading of border crossing points and related equipment.
Draft Action Plan on Drugs between EU and the Balkan states
An Action Plan on Drugs between EU and the Balkan states was adopted by the Council early in June 2003. It will provide a political framework for supporting actions against drugs in the region and will thus be an important complement to the other initiatives mentioned above and notably to the three drug programmes CADAP, SCAD and BUMAD.
Tacis Anti-money laundering programmes
Two projects have been launched in 2003 with the support of the Council of Europe: