Overall, the Conference was very satisfactory, as it allowed the representatives of national authorities and of civil society to discuss the main issues on drugs in a wide ranging and open debate, and to reach a general consensus on most points. There were repeated calls for a radical rethink of drug policy, including legalisation, from a number of NGOs, but this did not receive much support. A recurrent theme was the need for a comprehensive cost / benefit analysis and evaluation of all actions taken in drugs policy. It was suggested that co-operation and co-ordination of the drugs policies of the Commission and the Member States should be enhanced and an EU mechanism to fulfil this task, such as regular meetings of national drug co-ordinators, should be set-up.
The Conference, whose moderator was Professor Lafargue, was opened by Mr Vitorino, European Commissioner responsible for drugs co-ordination, Mr Canas, Portuguese Secretary of State to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and Ms Giannakou-Koutsikou, member of the European Parliament. There were then statements by the ex-Presidency of Finland on the EU Drugs Strategy 2000-2004 endorsed at the Helsinki European Council, the EMCDDA and Europol. The remainder of the meeting was divided into five sessions of at least two hours. Each session began with a presentation by an acknowledged expert in the field (eg EMCDDA, Europol or UNCDP) and was followed by discussions between all interested participants.