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Brussels, 7 July 2010

Statement by Janez Potočnik following the European Parliament vote on the Proposal for a Regulation to ban illegal timber

"I welcome the European Parliament's positive vote today on the European Commission proposal for a draft Regulation on illegal timber. Illegal logging often causes serious environmental damage and undermines the efforts of those who are trying to manage forests responsibly. That is why the Commission proposed to regulate timber imports, with the aim to prevent the sale of illegal timber, or products made with such timber, on the EU market.

The Parliament's vote today brings us a lot closer to remedying this situation. The impacts of illegal logging go beyond environmental protection, with potentially negative effects on the rule of law and the livelihoods of local people who depend on forests for many products and services. Hence combating illegal logging will bring environmental and development benefits. With this, we are sending a signal to the world that the EU will no longer serve as a market for illegally harvested timber. I look forward to its formal adoption by Council after the summer break. 

Moreover, the EU will continue to engage with countries wishing to strengthen forest governance, in particular through FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements. I am glad that the draft Regulation recognises the efforts of countries entering into such agreements with the EU."

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