EU must keep its hands off our criminal law

13 November 2007

EU must keep its hands off our criminal law

The European Commission is proposing that the synthetic drug 1-benzylpiperazine be made illegal in all European Union member states. This would mean that for the first time member states would be forced to amend their criminal law as it relates to drugs, a dangerous precedent for the Netherlands.

1-benzylpiperazine is a synthetic drug the effects of which are comparable to those of ecstasy. In some member states the drug is legal, while in others it is banned. The Netherlands has chosen to control it in a different way, including it under the general law on medicines, which means that though not illegal as such it may not be freely traded.

The SP is completely opposed to the Netherlands or any other member state being forced to criminalise a particular drug, as SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard explains: "Drugs policy at the European level is, for Dutch people, quite rightly, an extremely sensitive issue. The decision to make a certain drug illegal must remain the undiluted responsibility of each member state. If the European Parliament supports this proposal from the Commission what it will be saying in practise is that drugs policy is a European affair, a matter on which the EU is competent to rule. That is unacceptable.”

Together with fellow Dutch MEPs in the Green Left, the SP Euro-parliamentary group has proposed amendments to the measure removing the obligation to criminalise the drug in question.

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