Minister Hyssälä: Tackling the drug problem by strong cross-border cooperation
An important component of the EU strategy on drugs is cooperation beyond the Union, as drugs problems extend across borders. This challenge can only be met by joint action, said Minister of Health and Social Services Liisa Hyssälä in her opening address to the EU conference on drugs, in Turku.
The theme of the conference is the joint work on the issue by different administrative sectors and authorities, being emphasised by Finland during its Presidency. According to the minister, broad cooperation will bring allow for new solutions to a common problem.
Finland is also giving emphasis to the policy of the Northern Dimension. Cross-border cooperative partnership programmes are to be updated this autumn. The framework document to be agreed on this highlights trade, the environment and security. A central aim in the area of welfare and healthcare concerns infectious diseases, in particular the prevention and eradication of HIV.
Minister Hyssälä expressed the hope for close EU cooperation with the Union’s eastern neighbours, in addition to Russia. Participation in the conference included representatives from Belarus and Ukraine. The minister said she hopes that all eastern neighbours will be fully included in the work of the Council.
The EU takes an active role and initiatives in drugs policy. Its drug strategy reinforces common security and public health, said Minister Hyssälä. Cooperation to stop the drugs problem has to be constant, transparent, research based and open to new initiatives.