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The EU wants to protect forests and rainforests even more. Commission, Council and Parliament agreed on compromise on anti-deforestation regulation

Dec 6, 2022

The Council of the European Union (EU), the European Commission (EC) and the European Parliament (EP) met yesterday for the last trilogue on the Anti-Deforestation Regulation. Representatives of the institutions have tentatively agreed on the text of the Regulation, but the agreement still needs to be confirmed by both the EU Council and the European Parliament.

In November last year, the EC adopted a proposal for a Regulation on the access to and export of certain products linked to deforestation and forest degradation on EU markets (the Anti-Deforestation Regulation). The aim is to ensure that the production of products derived from coffee, cocoa, palm oil, soya, beef, wood and rubber does not lead to deforestation or forest degradation. Such products will not be allowed to be traded and companies will have to prove that no deforestation or degradation of forests and woodlands actually occurred in the production of the selected products.

"The issue of deforestation and degradation of forests and rainforests is very important and is one of our main presidential priorities. I am therefore pleased that we have managed to have such a difficult discussion and to agree on a compromise. According to data from the European Commission, this is the most important and most demanded topic by the public and non-governmental organisations in the European Union. As the Presidency and Council representatives, we were of the opinion that we should protect nature sufficiently, while at the same time not jeopardising the supply of certain products and foodstuffs due to new bureaucratic obstacles," said Agriculture Minister Zdeněk Nekula.

According to the European Commission, the seven commodities mentioned contribute most to deforestation. The proposal also opens up the possibility of future expansion to other commodities on the basis of objective scientific data and after an impact assessment of their inclusion.

The products in question will only be tradable in the EU if they have not been produced on land that has been deforested after 31 December 2020. The competent control authorities will check at regular intervals whether a certain percentage of operators and traders are complying with the obligations, based on the classification of countries into groups according to the level of deforestation risk.

The regulation will be in force in 18 months. This is the minimum time needed for traders, Member States and the Commission to prepare. The scope and effectiveness of the Regulation will be reviewed by topic after one, two and five years.

On 28 June this year, the EU Council agreed on a general approach to guide the Presidency in the negotiations. Two trialogues were held on 27 September and 9 November, and a third last night. The Czech Presidency also held 15 technical meetings during which experts discussed some possible compromises.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the rate of deforestation between 2015 and 2020 has been estimated at 10 million hectares per year, which is about 19 football pitches per minute.

 

Vojtěch Bílý

spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture