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EU's Andean Assistance On Integration, Drugs Fight

Assistance to Andean Community: European Commission supports regional economic integration and fight against illicit drugs

Promotion of regional integration plays an important role in EU foreign policy around the globe. The European Commission has allocated almost €10 mio for regional projects of the Andean Community which aim at improving regional economic integration and strengthening the fight against illicit drugs.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, emphasised: "Strong regional ties increase the weight of a region on the world stage and bring clear advantages to the citizens of that region. It is therefore in our interest to encourage and support this process with concrete projects. Improving for instance the fight against illicit drugs in the Andean Community has a direct impact on us by preventing these drugs from being sold in Europe. The European Commission alone has forecasted €50 mio until 2013 for projects that increase regional cohesion of the Andean Community."

The two projects adopted within the 2008 Annual Action Programme are:

INTER-CAN (Integración Económica Regional de la CAN) aims at improving regional cooperation in the area of intra-regional trade by allowing for an integrated control of goods and services at the borders. This can be achieved by, for instance, working on better links between administrations through electronic data exchange networks and through improved customs inspection laboratories. The European Commission contributes €6.5 mio to this project which has a total budget of almost €9 mio.

PRADI-CAN (Programa Antidrogas ilícitas en la CAN) is the first comprehensive cooperation project on drugs within the programming period of 2007 - 2013. One of the main goals of this project which has a total budget of €4 mio, of which €3.25 mio are financed by the European Commission, will be the establishment of a network between national observatories on drug trafficking. Other elements will aim at developing regional activities on control of precursors in the CAN and improving the capacity of drug-related analysis of the countries of the Andean Community.

Background:

In April 2007, the European Commission signed the Regional Strategy for the cooperation with the Andean Community, allocating € 50million under the financing instrument for development cooperation (DCI) for the period 2007-2013. Among this, three focal sectors have been selected for cooperation activities at CAN sub-regional level: to assist the Andean Community to strengthen its economic integration, thereby giving it a stronger position in the world economy; to support initiatives to enhance social and economic cohesion within the Andean Community; and to assist the Andean countries in their difficult fight against illicit drugs, in line with the principle of shared responsibility that governs EU-CAN relations in this area.

Further information on EU-Andean Community relations: http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/andean/index_en.htm

ENDS

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