European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and the executive director of EUDA Alexis Goosdeel. EPA-EFE/TIAGO PETINGA


New EU anti-drugs agency to tackle ‘terrorism of drug crime’


A new EU anti-drugs agency has been launched in the hopes of combatting what has been described as the “terrorism of drug crime”.

The European Commission launched its new European Union Drugs Agency (EUDA) in Lisbon on July 3, with the new organisation designed to tighten trans-Atlantic co-operation in the combatting of drug traffickers.

At the inauguration event for the initiative, Brussels’ Interior Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, explained the need to tighten relations with Latin American countries to combat organised drug crime.

Such criminal enterprises, she added, represent “one of the greatest threats to society today”.

“We recognise the strength of these criminal networks, but we are constructing even stronger networks to dismantle them,” she declared.

“The danger these groups present is on par with that of terrorism.”

Since summer 2023, improving the EU’s capacity to fight drug gangs has become a primary concern for Johansson, especially in light of rising drug-related crime in regions around Brussels and Belgian port cities such as Antwerp.

According to the EUDA, almost 70 per cent of drug seizures by EU customs occurred at the bloc’s ports. Often, large amounts of cocaine have been found in shipping containers coming from South America.

The agency, which succeeds the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction created in 1993, has been granted a “stronger mandate” to enhance the EU’s drug enforcement efforts, Johansson said.

Marie Nougier, head of research at the UK-registered International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), a global network of more than 190 NGOs, said the “new agency’s mandate emphasises health and human rights”.

She said the EUDA was formed as “there is a genuine risk that populist policies and securitisation agendas will adversely affect drug policies”.

The current legislative approach to the fight against drugs, according to Nougier, has long been promoted by the Open Society Foundation, founded by billionaire George Soros.