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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

  • NEWS 2006-2010

  • In November 2006 the ministers gathered in Strasbourg to adopt a new working programme, which will be carried out by the Pompidou Group between 2007-2010. At the end of this conference your country -Poland- took over the Pompidou Group's chairmanship which was previously held by the Netherlands.

     

    Question: Can you please tell us how you see the Pompidou Group's future and what your priorities of action are for the next four years?

    Piotr Jablonski: I believe that the Netherlands made significant progress regarding the Pompidou Group, and based on the really tough work which was done by my predecessor, Bob Kaiser, and the secretariat of the Pompidou Group during the last period, we are able to establish now a new mission for the Pompidou Group and a new framework for our work. The main point is that the Pompidou Group is the only institution in Europe which concentrates rather on quality than on quantity of tasks. Our mission is to contribute to the international efforts on reducing demand and supply of drugs by using different tools. We are going to link policy, good practice and research and to base our answers to the drug situation on these three pillars. I think also that the bridging role of Pompidou Group is very important, because even if the majority of countries in Europe are members of the EU, there are still a lot of countries in the East of Europe like Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, but also other countries like Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, which are not part of it.

     
    Question: In other words you are saying that the bridging role is very important ,specifically with regard to countries that are not in the EU. How do you see the Pompidou Group's role alongside other international organizations in the field, in particular the European Union bodies and do you see ways to improve the Pompidou Group's co-operation with them?

    Piotr Jablonski: I'd like to go back to one point I've mentioned - it's the quality. I think the Pompidou Group is able to create an international network of institutions and experts which will deal with the problem of how to avoid overlaps, how to avoid a duplication of work and of work plans of different institutions. Based on that we will also be able to create a network of people, through which will be able not only to avoid duplication, but also to make international co-operation more coherent, more comprehensive. So this is what the additional task or mission of the Pompidou Group will look like.

     
    Question: Do you feel that the international co-operation needs to be more coherent, transparent? Is there something that's maybe missing now in your opinion?

    Piotr Jablonski: I note that there are a lot of international institutions which deal with drug problems and sometimes they are focusing on the same subject, which inevitably leads to some overlaps or duplications. I am therefore convinced that the Pompidou Group can gather these institutions together, gather experts together and help shaping international co-operation in a much more efficient and much clearer way.

     
    Question: Would that be one of the concrete results or the practical results you have to achieve under your new work programme?

    Piotr Jablonski: If we are able to join these three approaches -policy, good practice and research science - we will be able to provide some information on new trends, on new needs, new expectations regarding drug policy. For example, we have already started within the Pompidou Group discussions on poly-drug use or multiple drug use.

     
    Question: What's that?

    Piotr Jablonski: We consider drugs as illegal substances, but what is very common in Europe now is that people take different drugs - legal ones, like alcohol and medicines, combined with illegal drugs.

     
    Question: Like date-rape drugs?

    Piotr Jablonski: Yes, exactly. So we have to extent our discussions. We can not focus only on how to tackle illicit substances but have to also observe what is going on regarding the demand reduction approach. For political or private reasons, much more interest is normally put on supply reduction, rather than on demand.

     
    Question: And you are trying to focus more on the demand?

    Piotr Jablonski: No, I think that a balanced approach should be kept.

     
    Question: I'm just wondering what the Pompidou Group might offer to countries, especially in Eastern Europe and still outside the EU as you said? Is a further expansion of the Pompidou Group membership a priority?

    Piotr Jablonski: Of course I would like to see such extensions. I would be very happy if we had, for example, Ukraine in the Pompidou Group. It would be a good opportunity for Ukraine to reinforce its belonging to the national family, but it isn't the main task of the Pompidou Group. For countries from the Eastern part of Europe, there is still a lot to do not only with drugs, but also with questions directly linked with drugs like the hepatitis C epidemic or the HIV and Aids problem. These are very crucial problems for Ukraine, Russia and Moldova in particular. The Pompidou Group can offer access to international programmes, international co-operation, international tools on how to deal, how to manage, how to tackle these problems. We can propose training programmes or study visits for people of those countries, offering them access to knowledge and exchange of experiences and international efforts on their subjects of interest.

     
    Question: Are there any plans to concretly propose such training?

    Piotr Jablonski: Yes. In the Pompidou Group we have six experts platforms and one of them is the treatment platform. If a country wants to start a co-operation, it can benefit from the experience of the experts from other countries. If you have free and direct access to the knowledge you can not only sort out the current problems, but you can also observe the international trends and you can envisage what will happen in the future in order to create a new strategy.

     
    Question: So I take this as maybe a call on your part: please join us!

    Piotr Jablonski: Yes - exactly! Because we have a lot to offer.

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