EU quotes

Civil Liberties:

{LIBE}Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, 18 October 2004
PROPOSAL FOR A RECOMMENDATION TO THE COUNCIL on the European strategy on fighting drugs (2005-2012)
"G. believing that the risk represented by drugs should be analysed from a purely scientific point of view, minutely examining objective and comparable data and avoiding any kind of ideological approach, as the best way of solving the many problems linked with drugs,
... the Council ... should:
(a) establish a genuine European drugs policy, for all European citizens, which tackles the problem from all points of view...;
(b) take account of the fact that the six main objectives set by the EU Anti-Drug Strategy (2000-2004), show that only one of them achieved favourable results;
(c) conceive and formulate the new European Drugs Strategy (2005-2012) in a radically different way from the strategy currently in force ... with all its continually demonstrated global ineffectiveness;
(g) not to adopt the new European Drugs Strategy (2005-2012) without knowing the real results achieved by the previous Strategy;
(j) propose measures totally different from those currently selected ... since the relevant proposals are utterly inadequate;
(l) change the elements comprising the draft EU Drugs Strategy since they do not correspond to objective reality, ..irredeemably doomed to fail to achieve the objectives set;
(o) lay much greater stress on prevention and the rehabilitation of the health of people affected by drugs, who are often in situations of marginality and social exclusion, rather than on the failed repressive strategy which has on occasion led to violation of fundamental human rights;
(q) define and exponentially step up the involvement and participation of civil society in resolving drug-related problems".



The rules on competition are intended to ensure that a European economic area based on market forces can function effectively. The European Community's competition policy (Articles 81 to 89 of the EC Treaty, formerly 85 to 94) is based on five main principles:
- the prohibition of concerted practices, agreements and associations between undertakings which may affect trade between Member States and prevent, restrict or distort competition within the common market;
- the prohibition of abuse of a dominant position within the common market, in so far as it may affect trade between Member States;
- supervision of aid granted by the Member States, or through State resources in whatever form whatsoever, which threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods;
- preventive supervision of mergers with a European dimension, by approving or prohibiting the envisaged alliances;
- liberalisation of certain sectors where public or private enterprises have hitherto evolved monopolistically, such as telecommunications, transport or energy.


Human Rights:

Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union
1. The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles that are common to the Member States.

Charter of Fundamental Rights:

Article 49
Principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties
3. The severity of penalties must not be disproportionate to the criminal offence.

Article 52
Scope of guaranteed rights
1. Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms.
2. Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognized by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 54
Prohibition of abuse of rights
Nothing in this Charter shall be interpreted as implying any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognised in this Charter or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for herein.

Article 41
Right to good administration
1. Every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions and bodies of the Union.
2. This right includes:
- the right of every person to be heard, before any individual measure which would affect him or her adversely is taken;
- the right of every person to have access to his or her file, while respecting the legitimate interests of confidentiality and of professional and business secrecy;
- the obligation of the administration to give reasons for its decisions.
3. Every person has the right to have the Community make good any damage caused by its institutions or by its servants in the performance of their duties, in accordance with the general principles common to the laws of the Member States.
4. Every person may write to the institutions of the Union in one of the languages of the Treaties and must have an answer in the same language.

Article 6
Right to liberty and security
Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.

Article 7
Respect for private and family life
Everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications.

Article 11
Freedom of expression and information
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

Article 16
Freedom to conduct a business
The freedom to conduct a business in accordance with Community law and national laws and practices is recognised.

Article 17
Right to property
1. Everyone has the right to own, use, dispose of and bequeath his or her lawfully acquired possessions. No one may be deprived of his or her possessions, except in the public interest and in the cases and under the conditions provided for by law, subject to fair compensation being paid in good time for their loss. The use of property may be regulated by law insofar as is necessary for the general interest.

Article 1
Human dignity
Human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected.

Article 2
Right to life
1. Everyone has the right to life.
2. No one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed.

Article 3
Right to the integrity of the person
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity.
2. In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected in particular:
- the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the procedures laid down by law,
- the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the selection of persons,
- the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain,
- the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.

Article 20
Equality before the law
Everyone is equal before the law.

Article 21
1. Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.
2. Within the scope of application of the Treaty establishing the European Community and of the Treaty on European Union, and without prejudice to the special provisions of those Treaties, any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited.

Article 22
Cultural, religious and linguistic diversity
The Union shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.

Article 24
The rights of the child
1. Children shall have the right to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being. They may express their views freely. Such views shall be taken into consideration on matters which concern them in accordance with their age and maturity.
2. In all actions relating to children, whether taken by public authorities or private institutions, the child's best interests must be a primary consideration.

Article 38
Consumer Protection
Union policies shall ensure a high level of consumer protection.


Drug misuse statistics: EU Justice

"There are an estimated 1.5 million problem users in the European Union (EU). The picture varies between and within countries, with some areas facing specific problems. Cannabis is the most widely used and available drug: 40 % of 18 year olds have tried it".


Democratic feedback:

The right of petition is the right which every citizen of the European Union enjoys, individually or in association with other citizens, to submit a request to the European Parliament or to table a grievance before it on any subject which falls within the spheres of activity of the Community and concerns him or her directly (Articles 21 and 194 of the EC Treaty, formerly Articles 8d and 138d).
Parliament's Committee on Petitions considers whether such requests are admissible. Where it sees fit, it may put a question to the Ombudsman. When drawing up an opinion on a petition deemed to be admissible, it may ask the European Commission to provide it with documents or information.
The Treaty of Amsterdam added a new paragraph to Article 21, stating that every citizen of the Union may write to any of the institutions, including the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee, and to the Ombudsman in any of the official Union languages (including Irish) and receive an answer written in the same language.
Citizenship of the Union


Transparency (access to documents)

The term "transparency" is frequently used in Community language to mean openness in the working of the Community institutions. It is linked to a variety of demands for broader public access to information and EU documents, greater involvement in the decision-making process and more easily readable texts (simplification of the Treaties, consolidation and better drafting of legislation).
Complaints regarding a lack of transparency tend to reflect a general feeling that the European institutions are remote and secretive and that decision-making procedures are difficult for the ordinary European citizen to understand.
With specific reference to access to documents, the Council and the Commission adopted a code of conduct establishing common principles for the two institutions following a Council decision on 20 December 1993. On the basis of this code of conduct, the two institutions incorporated specific provisions on access to their documents into their rules of procedure.
The Treaty of Amsterdam has inserted a new Article 255 on transparency in the EC Treaty. This gives all citizens of the Union, plus all natural or legal persons residing or having their registered offices in a Member State, the right of access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
This article was implemented by the Regulation of 30 May 2001, which is not significantly different from previous texts, in that it provides for two exceptions: cases in which access is automatically refused (for reasons of public security, defence, international relations) and cases in which access is refused except where there is an overriding public interest in disclosure (protection of commercial interests of a natural or legal person, for example).

The Commission and Non Governmental Organisations - Building a stronger partnership [2000]
"The Commission remains therefore committed to respect the following overarching principles in the management of NGO projects and programmes:
The need to respect diversity and heterogeneity of the NGO community;
The need to take account of the autonomy and independence of NGOs;
The need to take into account the specific need of NGOs, depending upon the sector, size experience and track record of the NGO(s) concerned;
The need for greater openness and transparency, in particular by providing information about Community grants and the beneficiaries of these grants;
The need to ensure that measures taken incorporate and promote the European dimension of EU policies and related grants".

"the Helsinki European Council endorsed in December 1999 the EU Strategy on Drugs for 2000-2004 setting out eleven general aims...
The eleven general aims of the Strategy are to:
(a) ensure that drugs remains a top priority for the EU;
(b) ensure that actions are evaluated;
(c) continue the balanced approach to drugs;
(d) give greater priority to drug prevention, demand reduction and the reduction of the adverse consequences of drug use;
(e) reinforce the fight against drug trafficking and to step up police co-operation between Member States;
(f) encourage multiagency co-operation and the involvement of civil society; ..."

The UN-WHO-EMCDDA’s International guidelines for the evaluation of treatment services and systems for psychoactive substance use disorders, 2000:
"Communication with interested parties:
Discussions with interested groups – such as clients of treatment programmes – can be an invaluable means of learning about the extent of support for the study, the direction it should take and practical issues concerning its implementation. Good communication with key stakeholders throughout the implementation of an evaluation is vital and they should be involved in an early discussion of findings and implications. Discussions with all relevant stakeholders should be held at the outset and their views and concerns sought throughout the study. These discussions will help to formulate the central questions to be addressed".

Improving EU regulations:

European Governance: Better lawmaking [2002]:
"Promoting a culture of dialogue and participation
Who is really consulted as part of the Community legislative process? Are the smallest voices really and always heard? What is the subject matter of consultation? And to what extent are people's opinions actually taken into account? This is the subject of the second communication, which gives practical expression to the emerging culture of dialogue and participation.
Based on broad experience of mandatory or informal consultation exercises, five minimum consultation standards are set out, to be applied by the Commission's departments. The purpose is to enable the legislator to be sure of the quality, and particularly the equity, of consultations leading up to major political proposals. The move is motivated by three concerns: to systematise and rationalise the wide range of consultation practices and procedures, and to guarantee the feasibility and effectiveness of the operation; to ensure the transparency of consultation from the point of view of the bodies or persons consulted and from the legislator's point of view; and to demonstrate accountability vis--vis the bodies or players consulted, by making public, as far as possible, the results of the consultation and the lessons that have been learned".

EC’s Simplifying and improving the regulatory environment:
"A – Strengthening consultation and prior impact analysis
Each proposal for a legal act constitutes a commitment on the part of the Commission. Having regard to the wider Community interest, the Commission first of all conducts a prior evaluation of the problem to assess the expediency of action at Community level. It then conducts consultations with the parties concerned and does impact analyses with a view to assessing which is the most effective way of meeting the desired objectives, which is the most appropriate instrument and, where appropriate, what would be the cost and benefits. It might be that, at this stage, Community action is not necessary.
To give the people of Europe more effective and more transparent legislation, in accordance with the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, the Commission intends to improve these practices.
1) Consultations
The Commission already has access to appropriate instruments (Green Papers, White Papers, consultations of the social partners, forums and, increasingly, interactive Internet-based consultation processes, etc.) and a wide range of bodies (e.g. groups of experts and advisory committees) for consultation purposes. It is also committed to publishing a full list as soon as possible in the interests of transparency. The Commission also takes into account, wherever possible, the opinions of the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. This is a unique and invaluable resource for the Commission, and any improvement in the way it works will provide additional guarantees for the public at large.
We have to go further along this path. The Commission now intends to intensify these consultations, targeting representatives of civil society and using the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, and developing access for the general public to databases so as to encourage online consultation (via Eur-Lex et Pre-Lex).


Tobacco & alcohol:

"there is an increased risk of respiratory illnesses for non-smokers involuntarily exposed to the smoke of tobacco products. It is therefore necessary to protect the right to health of non-smokers.
2. The Member States are therefore invited to take the following measures by introducing legislation or by other methods in accordance with national practices and conditions:
- ban smoking in enclosed premises open to the public which form part of the public or private establishments listed in an Annex; Member States may add to this list;
- extend the ban on smoking to all forms of public transport;
- provide, where necessary, for clearly defined areas to be reserved for smokers in the above establishments and, if possible, in public transport, particularly for long journeys;
- ensure that in the event of disputes, in areas other than those reserved for smokers, the right to health of non-smokers prevails over the right of smokers to smoke".

European Alcohol Action Plan 2000-2005
The objectives of the Plan are to:
- generate greater awareness of, provide education in, and build up support for public health policies that prevent harm from alcohol;
- reduce the risk of alcohol-related problems that may occur in the home, workplace, community or drinking environment;
- reduce both the breadth and depth of alcohol-related harm such as fatalities, accidents, violence, child abuse and neglect, and family crises;
- provide accessible and effective treatment for people with hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption and those with alcohol dependence;
- provide greater protection from the pressure to drink for children, young people and those who choose not to drink alcohol.
Aims and context
The Plan aims to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. Nevertheless, alcohol use by individuals and in the community cannot and should not be isolated from other factors, not least the use of other psychoactive substances.
Alcohol consumption is closely connected with a large number of accidents and health hazards, and the number of people dying of alcohol-related causes is closely associated with the total consumption in that society.

European Charter on Alcohol, 1995
Ethical principles and goals
In furtherance of the European Alcohol Action Plan, the Paris Conference calls on all Member States to draw up comprehensive alcohol policies and implement programmes that give expression, as appropriate in their differing cultures and social, legal and economic environments, to the following ethical principles and goals, on the understanding that this document does not confer legal rights.
- All people have the right to a family, community and working life protected from accidents, violence and other negative consequences of alcohol consumption.
- All people have the right to valid impartial information and education, starting early in life, on the consequences of alcohol consumption on health, the family and society.
- All children and adolescents have the right to grow up in an environment protected from the negative consequences of alcohol consumption and, to the extent possible, from the promotion of alcoholic beverages.
- All people with hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption and members of their families have the right to accessible treatment and care.
- All people who do not wish to consume alcohol, or who cannot do so for health or other reasons, have the right to be safeguarded from pressures to drink and be supported in their non-drinking behaviour.
Ten strategies for alcohol action
Research and successful examples in countries demonstrate that significant health and economic benefits for the European Region may be achieved if the following ten health promotion strategies for action on alcohol are implemented to give effect to the ethical principles and goals listed above, in accordance with the differing cultures and social, legal and economic environments in each Member State:

  1. Inform people of the consequences of alcohol consumption on health, family and society and of the effective measures that can be taken to prevent or minimize harm, building broad educational programmes beginning in early childhood.
  2. Promote public, private and working environments protected from accidents and violence and other negative consequences of alcohol consumption.
  3. Establish and enforce laws that effectively discourage drink-driving.
  4. Promote health by controlling the availability, for example for young people, and influencing the price of alcoholic beverages, for instance by taxation.
  5. Implement strict controls, recognizing existing limitations or bans in some countries, on direct and indirect advertising of alcoholic beverages and ensure that no form of advertising is specifically addressed to young people, for instance, through the linking of alcohol to sports.
  6. Ensure the accessibility of effective treatment and rehabilitation services, with trained personnel, for people with hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption and members of their families.
  7. Foster awareness of ethical and legal responsibility among those involved in the marketing or serving of alcoholic beverages, ensure strict control of product safety and implement appropriate measures against illicit production and sale.
  8. Enhance the capacity of society to deal with alcohol through the training of professionals in different sectors, such as health, social welfare, education and the judiciary, along with the strengthening of community development and leadership.
  9. Support nongovernmental organizations and self-help movements that promote healthy lifestyles, specifically those aiming to prevent or reduce alcohol-related harm.
  10. Formulate broad-based programmes in Member States, taking account of the present European Charter on Alcohol; specify clear targets for and indicators of outcome; monitor progress; and ensure periodic updating of programmes based on evaluation.