On 20 September 2013 the Commission adopted the EU Forest Strategy which aims to help forests and the forest sector to face current challenges.
The Strategy gives a framework in response to the increasing demands put on forests and to significant societal and political changes that have affected forests over the last 15 years.
It was developed by the Commission in close cooperation with Member States and stakeholders over and has been submitted to the European Parliament and the Council.
>> Read the strategy paper:
The report ‘progress in the implementation of the EU forest strategy’ reviews the strategy since it's launch. The midterm review highlights that the EU forest strategy is achieving its aims of encouraging sustainable forest management both in the EU and globally.
The Strategy in a nutshell
While the Treaty on the Functioning the EU makes no reference to specific provisions for an EU forest policy, the EU has a long history of contributing through its policies to implementing sustainable forest management and to Member States’ decisions on forests.
Important developments include:
- the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs,
- the Resource Efficiency Roadmap,
- Rural Development Policy,
- Industrial Policy,
- the EU Climate and Energy Package with its 2020 targets,
- the Plant Health and Reproductive Materials Strategy and
- the Biodiversity and Bioeconomy Strategies.
Following a new approach, the Strategy "goes out of the forest", addressing aspects of the value chain i.e. the way forest resources are used to generate goods and services, which strongly influence forest management.
The Strategy highlights that forests are not only important for rural development, but also for the environment - especially for biodiversity; for forest-based industries; bioenergy; and in the fight against climate change
Stressing the need of an holistic approach, it also emphasizes that impacts of other policies on forests as well as developments taking place beyond forest boundaries should be taken into account.
In addition, the new strategy underlines that forest-linked EU policies should fully be taken into account in national forest policies.
Finally, it calls for a Forest Information System to be set up and for Europe-wide harmonised information on forests to be collected.
Agriculture Council conclusions
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council adopted conclusions on the EU Forest Strategy at its meeting on 19 May 2014. The ministers acknowledge that the Strategy should enhance coordination and facilitate the coherence of forest-related policies and should allow for synergies with other sectors that influence forest management and offer the key reference in EU forest-related policy development.
The European Parliament adopted a Resolution on 29 April 2015 welcoming the EU forest strategy. The Resolution stresses that the EU forest strategy must focus on the sustainable management of forests and their multifunctional role from the economic, social and environmental viewpoints and must ensure better coordination and communication of Community policies directly or indirectly linked to forestry
Economic and Social Committee (EESC) opinion
The Economic and Social Committee adopted an opinion on the 10 July 2014. Against the backdrop of growing demands on and threats to forests, as well as many EU sectoral policies and associated rules affecting forestry and forests, the EESC considers that the new strategy is sorely needed. The EESC urges both the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the strategy is effectively and efficiently implemented.
Committee of the Regions (CoR) opinion
The Committee of the Regions adopted an opinion on the 30 January 2014 welcoming the European Commission's communication on a forestry strategy which addresses in a comprehensive and balanced way all aspects of sustainable management of the forestry and forest-based sector.
The former EU Forestry Strategy dates back to 1998. Based on cooperation between EU and Member States (subsidiarity and shared responsibility), it established a framework for forest-related actions supporting sustainable forest management.