On 21-22 June 2018 Sofia hosted the 20th high level meeting of the Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism on Drugs of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (EU - CELAC). The meeting gathered representatives of the two regions, as well as representatives of the European Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Europol and the Cooperation Programme on Drugs Policies (COPOLAD). The event was part of the calendar of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and was co-organised by the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health.
During the discussions, a particular focus was placed on the joint measures to counteract the supply of drugs via darknet markets, which allow anonymous transactions, as well as on the development and implementation of social and health programmes for reducing drug demand.
“The Bulgarian Presidency has worked actively over the past six months on these two topics, which were among the priorities in the home affairs area. A final document on Drugs and Darknet with recommendations and informal guidelines for future work in the fight against this phenomenon was prepared, and in terms of demand reduction, in March the JHA Council adopted conclusions on alternatives to coercive measures that are promoting the Member States’ engagement in this area”,
stated the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Interior, Stefan Balabanov.
Along with the strategic issues related to the existing cooperation, the participants also discussed the situation in the two regions in relation to drugs and exchanged information on national strategies, experience and best practices. An annual report on the activities under the Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism on Drugs was adopted at the end of the meeting, as well as a joint declaration outlining the commitment of the two regions to continue their successful collaboration.
The European Union and the Latin American and Caribbean States share a strategic partnership established in 1999 that has been significantly strengthened over the past years. The two regions cooperate closely on an international level on a wide range of topics and maintain an intensive political dialogue at all levels. The EU supports the cooperation through the implementation of regional and thematic programs in specific areas.