Germany and Austria take action on the new EU Forest Strategy
On 26 August 2021, the Federal Minister of Agriculture and her Austrian counterpart signed a joint declaration on the EU forest strategy.
Image source: BMEL/Torsten Silz
Both federal ministers spoke out in favor of an EU Forest Strategy that sensibly flanks and supplements the forest policy of the Member States but does not replace it. According to them, “the current proposals of the EU Commission to take over planning sovereignty for forests and to provide centrally binding guidelines for the Member States should be resolutely rejected.”
Joint declaration on the EU Forest Strategy 2030 – key points:
- A high level of expertise, a large, regionally-differentiated wealth of experience and extensive scientific analyses of forest management have been established in the member states. There is, therefore, no justification for centralizing forest policy.
- The EU Member States have a large number of adapted, near-natural forest management concepts that specifically promote and maintain biological diversity in addition to the economic, but also the ecological and social functions, of the forests.
- The current proposals of the EU Commission to take over planning sovereignty for forests and to provide legally binding requirements for the EU member states are rejected. They are incompatible with the tried and tested order of competencies anchored in the EU treaties or with subsidiarity.
- As part of a holistic approach, the EU Forest Strategy 2030 should focus on complementing the national forest strategies of the member states in a meaningful way. Above all, this includes a joint approach to strengthen the resilience of forests to climate change and the promotion of supplies, including for the bioeconomy and timber construction, with our most important renewable raw material, wood from our own, sustainably managed forests. The EU-wide forest support should be made fit-for-purpose and reward the environmental achievements of forest owners within the EU framework accordingly.
- Germany and Austria will measure the Commission’s proposals against the Council’s conclusions of 10 November 2020, drawn up under the German Council Presidency, and will advocate for a more cooperative action by the Member States and the Commission at EU level that is called for therein.
Published 30/08/2021, Brussels
Mr. Piotr Borkowski
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