Barbara Bogusz and Mike King
The main focus of this chapter is on the European Union's approach towards combating illicit drug trafficking, and how this affects Central European Countries (CECs) in their preparations for accession into the EU. To this end we draw from the findings of a research project funded by the European Commission as part of the INCO-Copernicus programme. 1 This examined the impact of EU illicit drug trafficking control policies in three Central European countries, namely the Czech Republic, Hungary and Lithuania. We begin with an overview of the wider context of apparent EU concerns, drawing attention to recent EU developments in drug trafficking control strategies. We then critically consider some of the inconsistencies, realities and impacts in the case-study countries. The chapter concludes by asserting that, whilst there is demonstrably political will in all three countries to conform (even to some extent in excess) to EU direction given the promise of accession, there is largely a mismatch between this and feasible practical implementation.
In the immediate post-Cold War period, the prospect of CEC accession into the European Economic Community was inconceivable. Not only were they fledging democracies but economically they were considerably weaker than the poorest member state in the EU (Dinan, 1999:185). However, in 1993, the Copenhagen Council devised a strategy whereby countries seeking membership of the European Union would have to fulfil certain criteria covering areas that are seen as being compatible with a 'liberal-democratic' state and functioning market economy. Further, they would be required to have the necessary capability to adhere and incorporate the Community acquis communautaire (body of established legal measures) (European Commission, 2000a). These are universal criteria, not only applicable to CEC candidate states, but all countries