Index 
 Previous 
 Next 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2012/0250(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0167/2013

Texts tabled :

A7-0167/2013

Debates :

PV 21/10/2013 - 14
CRE 21/10/2013 - 14

Votes :

PV 23/10/2013 - 11.5

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2013)0440

Debates
Monday, 21 October 2013 - Strasbourg Revised edition

14. Trade between the Community and third countries in drug precursors (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
MPphoto
 

  President. − The next item is the report by Franck Proust, on behalf of the Committee on International Trade, on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 111/2005 laying down rules for the monitoring of trade between the Community and third countries in drug precursors (COM(2012)0521 – C7-0316/2012 – 2012/0250(COD)) (A7-0167/2013).

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Franck Proust, rapporteur. − Monsieur le Président, je suis en effet heureux de pouvoir vous présenter aujourd'hui ce rapport sur la surveillance du commerce des précurseurs de drogues entre l'Union européenne et les pays tiers.

Nous avons effectivement la chance d'avoir pu trouver rapidement un accord avec le Conseil et la Commission. Le résultat de cet accord de trilogue me paraît, pour ma part, excellent. Les précurseurs de drogues sont des substances licites qui peuvent être utilisées pour synthétiser des drogues. Par exemple, le vinaigre est utilisé pour la fabrication de l'héroïne.

Pour lutter contre les narcotrafiquants, il est important de pouvoir surveiller le commerce des précurseurs. Moins les précurseurs sont faciles à détourner du marché licite, moins on trouve de drogues de synthèse. Toute la difficulté est donc de trouver un équilibre dans la surveillance de ces substances sans pour autant entraver le marché. Le règlement actuellement en vigueur présente des lacunes et c'est la raison qui a conduit la Commission européenne à en proposer une révision. En effet, nous nous sommes rendu compte que les médicaments qui contiennent des précurseurs de drogues ne font pas l'objet d'un contrôle particulier et peuvent donc facilement être détournés.

C'est le cas notamment des médicaments contre le rhume, qui contiennent de l'éphédrine et de la pseudo-éphédrine. Ces deux substances sont des précurseurs de drogues surveillés car ils sont indispensables à la fabrication de méthamphétamines. Les narcotrafiquants ont détournés les médicaments qui, eux, n'étaient pas surveillés.

Plutôt que de créer un système particulier pour les médicaments contre le rhume, nous avons préféré créer une nouvelle catégorie de substances surveillées. On les appelle les substances classifiées. Cela signifie, en d'autres termes, qu'il suffira d'un acte délégué pour inscrire sur cette liste un nouveau médicament dont on se rend compte qu'il est détourné pour synthétiser des substances illicites. Cela permet de réagir rapidement contre les nouvelles tendances des narcotrafiquants, sans entraver pour autant le commerce des médicaments. En effet, seuls ceux dont la substance précurseur est facilement extractible du médicament pourront être inscrits parmi les substances classifiées.

Or, à l'heure actuelle, seuls les médicaments contenant de l'éphédrine et de la pseudo-éphédrine remplissent ce critère. À ceux qui disent qu'il ne faut pas entraver le commerce des médicaments, car cela est vital pour les populations sous-développées, je souhaite dire que, pour le moment, le seul médicament visé par des contrôles est un médicament de confort puisqu'il traite exclusivement le rhume.

De plus, les substances qui seront inscrites dans cette nouvelle catégorie, dont les médicaments contenant de l'éphédrine et de la pseudo-éphédrine, ne seront soumises qu'à une obligation de notification préalable à l'exportation, formalité très peu contraignante et d'un coût dérisoire. D'après l'étude d'impact, ce coût s'élève à environ quinze euros. À terme, il est tout à fait envisageable d'inscrire dans cette catégorie très souple d'autres médicaments si le besoin s'en fait sentir.

Par ailleurs, la révision de ce règlement étant également l'occasion d'adapter la comitologie au traité de Lisbonne, nous avons estimé que des actes d'exécution, selon la procédure d'examen, étaient les plus appropriés, mais je tiens à rappeler que cela ne doit pas constituer un précédent dans les négociations entre le Conseil et le Parlement européen, notamment sur d'autres sujets.

Pour terminer, je tiens à souligner l'excellent travail de coopération entre les différents groupes politiques et je souhaiterais, pour cela, remercier les rapporteurs fictifs de la confiance qu'ils m'ont accordée tout au long de ce processus législatif. Je tiens également à remercier le Conseil et la Commission pour la qualité de nos échanges.

Je vous remercie, bien entendu, de votre attention et attend vos remarques éventuelles.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Neven Mimica, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I would like first to thank the Committee on International Trade and, in particular, the rapporteur, Mr Proust, for the intensive work and constructive approach during the negotiation process.

Doing our utmost to prevent the manufacture of illicit drugs is, simply, our moral duty. In that regard, efforts made by the EU authorities and industry in controlling the external trade in certain legal substances used for the manufacturing of illicit drugs are already quite significant. But these efforts must now be extended to new substances that drug manufacturers are using in order to replace precursors which the existing legislation already controls. This is why I consider the amendment to the regulation on the international trade in drug precursors as a major step forward in our fight against the illicit manufacture of drugs.

Firstly, the regulation will respond to the United Nations’ call for better monitoring of international trade in medicines containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. This will help to prevent their use in producing the illicit drug methamphetamine while maintaining fair access to medicines.

Secondly, the new regulation will provide the Union with fast-reaction mechanisms to address trafficking trends in new chemicals used as drug precursors. It enables the relevant EU authorities to seize shipments of those chemicals if they have sufficient evidence that they are intended for the production of illicit drugs. Furthermore, it foresees the possibility of incorporating newly-identified substances firstly into voluntary monitoring by the industry and, where necessary, into the list of substances formally controlled by the customs authorities.

This is a major contribution to international efforts against the diversion of drug precursors and therefore a great achievement in the fight against the manufacturing of illicit drugs.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Josefa Andrés Barea, en nombre del Grupo S&D. – Señor Presidente, señor Comisario, este informe es una aportación a la lucha contra el tráfico de drogas, como se ha dicho hasta el momento. Hasta la fecha, los medicamentos que contenían efedrina y pseudoefedrina estaban excluidos de los controles. Estos medicamentos de uso común —como se ha dicho aquí— para resfriados y para alergias, utilizados por todos, podían ser manipulados y de ellos podían extraerse los denominados precursores de drogas, estupefacientes.

Con este Reglamento se controla el tráfico de estas sustancias a través de las aduanas. Hay que hacerlo fácil y accesible, simplificado, sin costes. El ponente tuvo una muy buena idea, que es simplificar el informe añadiendo una nueva categoría, y esto supone una apertura hacia el futuro ante nuevas sustancias que pudieran aparecer.

La verdad es que este pequeño informe favorece la lucha contra las drogas. Esperemos que las reuniones que tengan lugar en el marco de la codecisión no entorpezcan su desarrollo y permitan aplicar cuanto antes esta nueva normativa, que supone una aportación importante en la lucha contra las drogas.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Metin Kazak, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, illegal trade practices in drug precursors must never be underestimated. They damage the health and ruin the lives of individuals. The costs to society are enormous. Tackling drug trafficking is a challenge both worldwide and at the local community level, because it is a complex problem that requires integrated solutions, a new codecision procedure and coordinated delivery of services involving education, health, social care and economic policy.

It is clear that we need to stem the flow of dangerous medicinal products containing substances that can be used for manufacturing drugs, as it is becoming increasingly evident that traffickers are using those licit channels as a source and are smuggling large quantities of chemicals for the illicit manufacture of drugs. The Liberals are concerned that, despite the efforts made by the Commission, trafficking in substances used as precursors in the manufacture of narcotic drugs continues to be a problem that the EU must deal with as a matter of priority.

Addressing these medicinal products where law enforcement and regulatory capacity is limited requires not only the political will and recognition that precursors control is a shared responsibility, but also a long-term commitment to eliminating or significantly reducing the diversion of precursors. Given the rapidly changing methods employed by organised criminal groups to divert such substances from licit trade channels, the EU should start acting as of today, before the drug makers find another way.

Therefore, current ways of dealing with this problem – such as adding medicinal products to the regulation – are not a forward-looking approach. The Commission should also include these products in the definitions of scheduled substances. By doing so, the EU will gain a more vigilant approach towards those that can be used as dangerous drug precursors.

I also would like to emphasise the importance of further strengthening existing European cooperation mechanisms for the control of substances used in illicit drug manufacture. In this respect, a European database for registered operators holding a licence of registration for the legal trade in drug precursors and medicinal products should be regularly updated, and the information provided should be used by the Commission and by the Member States’ competent authorities for the purpose of preventing the diversion of those products onto the illegal market.

As a result of this, information provided in a timely manner on the identification of any new substances replacing precursors commonly used in the manufacture of illicit drugs and on the manufacture of such new substances will help the EU to counter the diversion of, and trafficking in, such substances.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Ruža Tomašić, u ime kluba ECR. – Gospodine predsjedniče, sintetiziranje droga iz prekursora kojima se legalno trguje otežalo je borbu europskog društva protiv droge. Dok su kriminalcima supstance potrebne za njihovo djelovanje postale dostupnije nego ikada. U potpunosti se slažem da moramo promptno djelovati i stvoriti učinkoviti sustav nadzora nad trgovinom prekursorima za droge te olakšati razmjenu podataka među državama članicama. Smatram, kako sva naša nastojanja moraju biti usmjerena ka tome da budemo korak ispred kriminalaca, a dok taj ideal ne ostvarimo svakako podržavam izvjestitelja u težnji da budemo barem ukorak s trgovcima drogom kroz brže i lakše dodavanje njihovih novih lijekova na listu prekursora.

No osjećam potrebnim istaknuti kako ni ovaj bolji prijedlog regulacije neće biti dovoljan bez kvalitetne suradnje policija i pravosudnih organa država članica i kandidatkinja. Za Hrvatsku je to posebno važno zbog uskih veza kriminalnih struktura bivših jugoslavenskih republika koje datiraju iz vremena prije rata kad državne granice nisu postojale kao barijera. Danas te granice postoje i moraju služiti svrsi kao temelj budućih dobrosusjedskih odnosa, ali i nepremostiva prepreka za švercere drogom i ostale kriminalce. Kako bismo to postigli moramo Hrvatskoj osigurati svu logističku i financijsku pomoć i u što kraćem roku ju pripremiti za pristupanje zoni Schengena.

Hrvatska zbog svog položaja i oblika predstavlja prvu liniju obrane od šverca drogom koja preko Turske i Balkana dolazi u zapadnu Europu, pa stoga ne bismo smjeli dopustiti da baš ona bude najslabija utvrda u Europskoj uniji

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Zbigniew Ziobro, w imieniu grupy EFD. – Panie Przewodniczący! W ramach Komisji JURI przygotowywałem opinię do porozumienia handlowego między Unią Europejską a Federacją Rosyjską; opinia ta dotyczyła prekursorów narkotyków. Z jednej strony mamy do czynienia ze zorganizowanymi grupami przestępczymi i gwałtownie rosnącym rynkiem narkotyków syntetycznych w Europie, czego nie możemy lekceważyć. Z drugiej strony musimy widzieć przedsiębiorców, którzy siłą rzeczy będą zobowiązani do dodatkowych kontroli oraz ochrony danych osobowych. Niemniej w kolizji tych dwóch wartości musimy postawić na bezpieczeństwo, na skuteczną walkę z przestępczością narkotykową, dlatego potrzebujemy pogłębionej współpracy międzynarodowej przy jednoczesnej ścisłej kontroli i dłuższym okresie przechowywania danych handlowych. Istotne wydaje się również lepsze prześwietlanie historii firm biorących udział w handlu prekursorami. Doświadczenie pokazuje, że osoby skazanie za przemyt prekursorów wracały do poprzednich praktyk po odbyciu wcześniej wydanych wyroków. Musimy być tutaj konsekwentni i konieczna jest dobra współpraca międzynarodowa.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  James Nicholson (ECR). - Mr President, an online search for information on ‘legal highs’ or drug precursors yields extremely worrying results. The first result would send me to a website to purchase legal highs, as would the second and the third. The fourth, however, is a tragic news report of a 22-year-old man from Northern Ireland who lost his life after taking a legal high. This situation cannot continue. Unfortunately, many people assume that, if a substance is openly on sale, there are limited risks. However, families and people across Europe last year would certainly disagree, as would the national poisons services of the national health authorities.

Member States are struggling to adopt legislation to outlaw these substances and are constantly one step behind. When substances are banned, it is not long before new dangerous substances take their place. While there is no doubt that there are legitimate industrial uses for drug precursors, it is essential that we have extremely robust monitoring of such trade. There is too much risk. Unfortunately, the illegal drug market is hyper-responsive, flexible and innovative. We need to have legislation that enables us, similarly, to be reactive. I believe this report takes us further in that direction.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). - Mr President, I wish to thank the rapporteur and the Commission. This report goes to show – and all of us in this House probably use some of these products – that the criminals involved in the drug trade will use anything they can, in any way they can, to manufacture drugs. They are using legal medicines for illegal purposes. The report therefore makes a great deal of sense. The idea of having a new schedule also makes sense, so that the Commission can upgrade the list with new substances as they come along.

Already in Member States there are restrictions on these two products – ephedrine and pseudoephedrine – so that they cannot be bought over the counter and used in measures that would cause health problems. But we are talking here about cases where large quantities are diverted for illegal purposes. This initiative will allow Member States to take action and seize products in an effective way. So let us put this in place immediately and let us ensure that it delivers results.

 
  
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Neven Mimica, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I would like to thank you for the views expressed during this debate. These views confirm the convergence and the very similar – or even identical – approach that we have on the importance, need and impact of the proposed regulation.

There were some good examples and proposals that would actually provide for an even stricter and better regulation, especially the proposal that I heard here – and we also heard it from the Council – to include medicinal products containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in the definition of scheduled substances.

The Commission would approach this issue favourably. My only comment today is that we need to find a wording that needs to be aligned in order to avoid any confusion during implementation. In any case you will soon vote on the amendment to the regulation on the monitoring of trade between the European Union and third countries in drug precursors.

With this new regulation, the EU will continue to set the gold standard at international level in the control of drug precursors. It will make a major contribution to next year’s review of the United Nations plan of action on drugs. Once approved, it will be for the Member States’ authorities to implement the regulation’s new features. The Commission will support this process and monitor the regulation’s effectiveness in tackling new trends in the diversion of drug precursors.

I look forward to a positive vote in this House.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Franck Proust, rapporteur. − Monsieur le Président, puisqu'apparemment ce rapport fait plus ou moins le consensus, je voudrais très brièvement remercier l'ensemble de mes collègues qui ont contribué à ce débat, comme je le disais tout à l'heure, ainsi que la Commission.

Je pense qu'effectivement, nous avons tous compris l'enjeu derrière ce rapport, qui était de lutter avec efficacité mais surtout avec réactivité contre ces précurseurs de drogues, car nous avons, face à nous, des narcotrafiquants qui sont des gens dangereux. Je souhaite donc que ce rapport, lorsqu'il va passer au vote, fasse la plus grande unanimité possible. En tout cas, merci pour la contribution de toutes et tous.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  President. − The debate is closed.

The vote will take place on Wednesday, 23 October 2013.

 
Last updated: 5 December 2013Legal notice