Fíkniefni - Pompidou-hópurinn

I congratulate you Mr. Chairman and Poland on taking on the presidency of the Pompidou Group.  As we heard yesterday the Group has been doing very well the last three years under the Dutch presidency.  Now we look forward to even better results in the years to come. 


International organized crime has been very much on the increase in the past few years, and there have been many indications that it is also starting to take root in Iceland.   The clearest indications of this are the instances of drug smuggling and drug dealing.  We must respond to this situation with increased international co-operation and new emphases in policing and customs control.  We must set ourselves realistic targets regarding the adoption of new methods to deal with the drug problem.


At the beginning of next year, changes in the structure of policing in Iceland will be taking effect,  with a reduction of the number of police administrative regions (and regional forces), from 26 to 15.  When this change goes through, it is planned to put greater effort into anti-drug measures and put the police in an even better position to deal with the foreseeable increase in drug smuggling and drug peddling.  Policing will become more visible.  Preventive programmes in collaboration with local authorities and other organizations will be strengthened.  Investigation of criminal offences will become more efficient and a special task force to handle drug cases is being formed.


Also at the beginning of next year, a special Analytical Unit is to be set up in the Office of the National Commissioner of Police.  One of its responsibilities will be to identify threats from organized crime, including the smuggling of drugs.  The Analytical Unit will be responsible for establishing formal collaboration with foreign services and using the Schengen Information System and the databases operated by Europol and Interpol.


Since 2003, the National Commissioner of Police has headed an initiative against the distribution and sale of drugs.  This has resulted in a 35% increase in the number of recorded drug offences, and a rise of 50% in the number of cases in which drugs were seized between 2003 and 2005.


The Government of Iceland regards preventive measures against drug abuse among young people as an important priority.  In July this year, it commissioned the Minister of Social Affairs to head a collaborative effort by all those involved in preventive measures to draw up a comprehensive policy on drug prevention in Iceland, based on harmonized measures and a better utilisation of the financial resources available for this purpose.   A multi-disciplinary pilot group has been working on this and will be submitting its proposals in just a few days.  I fully expect that this will lead to the launching of further co-ordinated measures on drug prevention.



Mr. Chairman,


The work done under the Pompidou Group is of great significance.  It is here that our experts have the chance to meet and share their knowledge with their counterparts from all over Europe in the fight against drugs.  Drug abuse is not a local problem, and a collective response by the international community is necessary to deal with it.  Close co-operation and the quick and efficient flow of information are the basis for success in this area.


Having attended this meeting and listened to the reports and studied the political declaration and the work programme we have discussed I am convinced that the Pompidou Group is on the right track and moving forward.  It is vital that we send a clear signal that we intend, jointly, to intensify our common efforts to increase the well being of our citizens by realistic drug policies.