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Research Questions

  1. What have been the outputs and impacts of the EU Drugs Strategy 2013–2020 and Action Plan 2013–2016?
  2. Based on the objectives of the EU Drugs Strategy, what are the areas where progress has been achieved and where progress is insufficient?
  3. Will a new proposed Action Plan to cover the period 2017-2020 be required? And if so, then what changes will be necessary?

The aim of the EU Drugs Strategy 2013–2020 is to contribute to a reduction in drug demand and drug supply within the EU. The Strategy has so far been implemented by an Action Plan covering the period 2013–2016. The report sets out the findings of an evaluation that assesses the degree of implementation of the Strategy and the Action Plan in terms of outputs and, where possible, impacts. It looks at the extent to which the objectives of the Strategy have been achieved. The evaluation aims to provide evidence to support the European Commission's decision about whether to propose a new Action Plan for the period 2017–2020 and, if so, what changes would be needed compared to the current plan.

Through applying a mixed-methods approach, the evaluation examined the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance and coherence of the actions undertaken on the basis of the EU Drugs Strategy and the Action Plan, as well as their EU added value. The evaluation makes 20 recommendations, addressed to the European Commission, Member States, the European Council and other stakeholders. The key recommendation for the Commission is that a new Action Plan should be implemented for the period 2017–2020. This should be an updated version of the current Action Plan, rather than taking a new approach or introducing more new actions.

Key Findings

  • The majority of the actions in the EU Action Plan on Drugs have been implemented and considerable progress has been made with regards to the 15 objectives in the EU Drugs Strategy.
  • There was widespread agreement about the continued need for an Action Plan, as it's considered to be necessary in translating the EU Drugs Strategy into more precise priorities and actions.
  • The Drugs Strategy and Action Plan were found to be broadly aligned with the objectives set out in other relevant EU and Member State policies and strategies. However, there was scope for greater coherence and coordination in the field of internal security and with key aspects of the EU Health Strategy.
  • The resources available to implement the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan were considered to be sufficient, particularly with regard to drug demand and supply. However, stakeholders indicated that increasing resources would ensure the better implementation of actions outlined in the EU Action Plan.
  • The Drugs Strategy provided added value to individual Member States by establishing a common EU-wide strategic framework and developing a process of consensus-building for increasingly complex and international issues. The Strategy and Action Plan appear to add most value in newer Member States, which did not have pre-existing or developed drugs policies prior to their EU accession. The Strategy also added value by guiding drug policy and cooperation with countries outside of Europe, allowing Member States to 'speak with one voice' in international fora.

Recommendation

  • The evaluation made 20 recommendations, addressed to the European Commission, Member States, the European Council and other stakeholders. The key recommendation was that the European Commission should propose a new Action Plan for the period 2017–2020 in order to continue translating the high-level objectives into concrete action. It was recommended that the new Action Plan should be an updated version of the current one rather than taking on a new approach or introducing more actions.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction to the study

  • Chapter Two

    Evaluation of effectiveness

  • Chapter Three

    Evaluation of efficiency

  • Chapter Four

    Evaluation of relevance

  • Chapter Five

    Evaluation of coherence

  • Chapter Six

    Evaluation of EU added value

  • Chapter Seven

    Cross-cutting conclusions

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the European Commission Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs and conducted by RAND Europe.

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