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  • NEWS 2006-2010

  • In November 2006 Poland assumed four-year presidency of the Council of Europe partial agreement - the Pompidou Group.


    Information on the Pompidou Group

    The Pompidou Group is a Partial Agreement within the Council of Europe. This is "a form of co-operation allowing the pursuit of certain activities not supported by all member states of the Council of Europe. Consequently, only interested member states participate in such an Agreement and bear the costs. Besides their contribution to the general budget, participating countries can also contribute towards specific goals. Such additional contributions are particularly relevant where a country or countries propose(s) an activity which is a priority only for a small group of members.


    The structure of the Pompidou Group supports the objectives laid out in the work programme, which is drawn up by the Permanent Correspondents and approved by the Ministerial Conference. The work programme specifies the activities that will be carried out during a four-year period. The programme defines the purpose of these activities as well as, to the extent possible, the form that they will take, their target group, the timescale and the financial aspects.


    The Pompidou Group's general budget for 2007 amounts to € 1,760 000.


    The Group operates at the following levels:

    - Ministerial Conference - attended by the ministers from each member country of the Pompidou Group who have principal responsibility for the questions covered by the Group. A specific decision is taken before each conference as to possible invitation of non-members.

    The conference is organised once every three years by the country that holds the presidency. In October 2000, under the Portuguese presidency, the Ministerial Conference took place in Sintra. Similarly, in October 2003, under the Irish presidency, the Ministerial Conference was held in Dublin, following to which the Netherlands took over the presidency. The last Ministerial Conference was held in Strasbourg in 2010, following to which Poland completed its presidency. The Ministerial Conference function is to formulate the strategic direction of the Group's work and to formulate priorities within that framework. The ministers endorse the evaluation report drawn up by the Permanent Correspondents on the activities of the past three years, and they approve the work programme for the coming period. The conference also provides the ministers with an opportunity to meet one another and exchange information. Extraordinary conferences may also be held on specific themes.


    - The Assembly of Permanent Correspondents - appointed by the government or relevant minister of each country participating in the Pompidou Group, Permanent Correspondents represent their government or country in respect of all questions concerning drugs and drug addiction. Permanent Correspondents assemble regularly at a plenary meeting, twice a year. The meetings serve as an intellectual and political forum where contacts can be made and exchanges of views can take place. The Permanent Correspondents' meetings focus on exchanging information and opinions about recent developments in the drug policies pursued by the individual countries and within the international frameworks. The meeting also monitors and manages the progress of the Pompidou Group's activities.


    - Bureau of the Permanent Correspondents - day-to-day decisions between Permanent Correspondents' sessions are taken by this body, which comprises the Chair, Vice-Chair and the field co-ordinators - a number of Permanent Correspondents appointed to act as coordinators for implementing fields of the work programme. They ensure the multisectoral coherence of the activities and promote the development of new initiatives within the framework of an integrated strategy.


    - Platforms - the Dublin Ministerial Conference in 2003 introduced a new structure based on 6 platforms concerning prevention, treatment, criminal justice, research, ethics and airports. Their main function is to satisfy the need for an exchange or transfer of new knowledge, information and opinions between policy makers, professionals and other field workers and scientists. A further function is to promote and develop common standards for good practice. Most platforms meet twice a year and are chaired by one of the Permanent Correspondents. Participants include acknowledged experts in the field covered by the platform who are nominated by the authorities of the Member States.


    - Projects - the work programme also includes a variety of specific activities, such as bilateral cooperation projects, pilot studies, training activities. The number, form and frequency of these implementation activities vary according to the subject, and are determined by the meeting of Permanent Correspondents. These projects are aimed at implementing practical, innovatory solutions with special emphasis on local issues. The main criterion is an efficient and flexible way of working.


    - Secretariat - Within the institutional framework of the Council of Europe, which is based in Strasbourg, France, the Secretariat assists in the preparation, implementation and facilitation of the Pompidou Group's activities. The (clusters of) activities are supported by a member of the Secretariat assigned to this task. The chairman of the Pompidou Group gives guidance to the Secretariat. Where necessary, external experts supply specific expertise. The Secretariat's duties also include monitoring the synergy of relevant activities within the Council of Europe.

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