DIRECTIVE (EU) 2017/2103 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 15 November 2017
amending Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA in order to include new psychoactive substances in the definition of drug and repealing Council Decision 2005/387/JHA
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
- Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 83(1) thereof,
- Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,
- After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,
- Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(1),
- Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(2),
- Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA(3) provides for a common approach to tackle illicit drug trafficking, which poses a threat to the health, safety and quality of life of citizens of the Union, to the legal economy and to the stability and security of the Member States. Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA sets out minimum common rules on the definition of drug trafficking offences and penalties in order to avoid problems arising in the cooperation between the judicial authorities and law enforcement agencies of Member States owing to the fact that the offence or offences in question are not punishable under the laws of both the requesting and the requested Member State.
- Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA applies to the substances covered by the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and to the substances covered by the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances (UN Conventions), as well as to the synthetic drugs subjected to control measures across the Union pursuant to Council Joint Action 97/396/JHA(4), which pose public health risks comparable to those posed by the substances scheduled under the UN Conventions.
- Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA should also apply to the substances subjected to control measures and criminal penalties pursuant to Council Decision 2005/387/JHA(5), which pose public health risks comparable to those posed by the substances scheduled under the UN Conventions.
- New psychoactive substances, which imitate the effects of substances scheduled under the UN Conventions, are emerging frequently and are spreading rapidly in the Union. Certain new psychoactive substances pose severe public health and social risks. Regulation (EU) 2017/2101 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6) provides the framework for the exchange of information on new psychoactive substances and for a risk assessment procedure based on an initial report and risk assessment report drawn up to evaluate whether a new psychoactive substance poses severe public health and social risks. To effectively reduce the availability of new psychoactive substances that pose severe public health risks and, where applicable, severe social risks, and to deter trafficking in those substances across the Union, as well as the involvement of criminal organisations, those substances should be included in the definition of drug in accordance with the provisions of this Directive and underpinned by proportionate criminal law provisions.
- The new psychoactive substances included in the definition of drug should therefore be covered by the Union criminal law provisions on illicit drug trafficking. This would also help streamline and clarify the Union legal framework, as the same criminal law provisions would apply to substances covered by the UN Conventions and to the most harmful new psychoactive substances. The definition of drug in Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA should therefore be amended.
- This Directive should establish the essential elements of the definition of drug, as well as the procedure and the criteria for the inclusion of new psychoactive substances in that definition. Furthermore, in order to include in the definition of drug psychoactive substances which are already subject to control measures by Council decisions adopted in accordance with Joint Action 97/396/JHA and Decision 2005/387/JHA, an Annex containing a list of those psychoactive substances should be added to Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA.
- However, in order to swiftly address the emergence and spread of harmful new psychoactive substances in the Union, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) should be delegated to the Commission in respect of amending that Annex to include new psychoactive substances in the definition of drug. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making(7). In particular, to ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the European Parliament and the Council receive all documents at the same time as Member States' experts, and their experts systematically have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts.
- In order to swiftly address the emergence and spread of harmful new psychoactive substances in the Union, Member States should apply the provisions of Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA to new psychoactive substances which pose severe public health risks and, where applicable, severe social risks, as soon as possible but no later than six months from the entry into force of a delegated act amending the Annex to include them in the definition of drug. Member States should, to the extent possible, make every effort to shorten that deadline.
- Since the objective of this Directive, namely to extend the application of the Union criminal law provisions that apply to illicit drug trafficking to new psychoactive substances posing severe public health risks and, where applicable, severe social risks, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States acting alone, but can rather be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). In accordance with the principle of proportionality as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.
- This Directive respects the fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence and the right of defence, the right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence and the principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties.
- As this Directive together with Regulation (EU) 2017/2101, is designed to replace the mechanism established by Decision 2005/387/JHA, that Decision should be repealed.
- In accordance with Article 3 of Protocol No 21 on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice, annexed to the TEU and to the TFEU, Ireland has notified its wish to take part in the adoption and application of this Directive.
- In accordance with Articles 1 and 2 of Protocol No 21 on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice, annexed to the TEU and to the TFEU, and without prejudice to Article 4 of that Protocol, the United Kingdom is not taking part in the adoption of this Directive and is not bound by it or subject to its application.
- In accordance with Articles 1 and 2 of Protocol No 22 on the position of Denmark, annexed to the TEU and to the TFEU, Denmark is not taking part in the adoption of this Directive and is not bound by it or subject to its application.
- Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA should therefore be amended accordingly,
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