Opposition to legally binding EU proposals seems to be increasing in Sweden, Austria and Germany, according to internal discussions on the strategy that EUobserver sees.
The European Commission proposed a new law in July on joint collection of forest data and on national and regional forestry strategy plans.
But Sweden, one of Europe’s most forested countries, completely disagreed with the “need” for such strategic plans “at EU level”, which it saw as an attempt to “increase centralization” of EU institutions, according to an internal EU report dated 27 September.
“Forestry will not be covered by exhaustive rules from Brussels,” said Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Sweden’s parliament last month.
Austria, for its part, said the proposed EU strategic plans “ignore well-established national systems and tools … leading to increased cumbersome and inefficient regulation”, according to internal EU documents.
But the dissatisfaction has been more widespread than that.
A total of 11 Member States have expressed dislike for the EU’s new forestry approach.
In July, Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden said in a joint letter that joint obligations under a potential EU planning and monitoring law would carry an “unprecedented administrative burden”. to Member States and operators.
Meanwhile a new report The European Court of Auditors, an EU watchdog, said on Monday (October 4) that the EU’s previous (2014-2020) forestry strategy and associated policies had a “limited impact” on protecting biodiversity and tackling climate change.
Data from recent years showed that the condition of EU forests was deteriorating, despite the EU increasingly calling them a “carbon sink” in climate change policy.
The auditor’s report identified weaknesses in the implementation of an EU regulation against illegal logging, both at national and EU level.
It warned that the number of checks carried out by national authorities was low compared to the number of companies in the EU market.
An EU Commission report from 2020 showed that controls were performed on only 0.43 percent of operators during the two-year reporting period.
The Court also criticized the Commission for not analyzing the quality of Member States’ controls – based on different definitions of what “illegal logging” was.
And auditors suggested that the general use of remote sensing or information retrieval, usually based on aerial photography and satellite data, could offer “great potential for cost-effective surveillance over large areas”, and help manage the marketing of illegally harvested timber and timber products within the EU. .