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Thursday, 13 May 2010

Environment MEPs get tough on illegal timber trade

Between 20%-40% of the world’s wood production comes from illegally logged tropical forests. In April last year the European Parliament voted to ban trade in illegally logged timber following the example of the US. Now the text is back at Parliament and Environment Committee MEPs are not satisfied with what the EU governments in the Council have made of it - shying away from a real ban. Last week the Environment Committee voted again.The Council position officially adopted in March was considerably weaker than Parliament's 1st reading position. It did not contain a prohibition on trading illegally harvested timber and timber products, and it did not specify penalties, or require criminal sanctions for serious infringements; the regime for the recognition of monitoring organisations was different to what Parliament had asked for as well. Parliament’s rapporteur is outgoing (due to her election to Westminster) British Green MEP Caroline Lucas. Speaking after the vote she said "strong support came from across the political spectrum on key issues including adoption of an overriding prohibition on placing or making available illegally harvested timber on the EU market, extension of traceability requirements throughout the supply chain, and setting of minimum standards for penalties, including criminal sanctions".On 4 May 2010 the Environment Committee adopted a draft recommendation for a second reading, reinstating most of Parliament’s first reading amendments which the Council had not taken on board. The EP and Council have now started negotiations on a possible compromise between the positions of the two legislators before the Parliament’s plenary vote scheduled for July.
 Source: European Parliament