During the European Parliament’s agriculture meeting held on Wednesday (9-1-21), EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski presented one of the main initiatives of the Commission’s Green Deal. According to Commissioner Wojciechowski, the aim of the strategy is to secure “growing healthy, resilient forests for decades to come.” Wojciechowski went on to say that “The new forestry strategy puts forward set of coordinated consistent and science-based policy actions that can be implemented in full cooperation with member states and forest stakeholders.
However, EU lawmakers from across the political spectrum have united in their criticism of the EU’s new flagship Forestry Strategy, describing it as vague and superficial while flagging concerns that it goes beyond the remit of the EU competence. Meanwhile, others pointed to concerns over the Commission overstepping their mark given that forestry is a national competence.
In response, the Commissioner maintained that the EU-wide forestry strategy can be implemented without stepping on the toes of member states, likening the situation to that of health — also a policy area which is the preserve of member states, but which saw considerable EU action during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While he stressed that forestry will remain firmly in the remit of member states and that this will not change, Wojciechowski sees the Commission’s role as “encouraging joint action but to an extent that does not take away member state competences and does not interfere with them”. “Time will tell” as to how far this intervention will go, he added, pointing out the overlap between the CAP strategic plans and the forestry strategy.
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MEPs blast Commission’s flagship forest strategy as vague, overstepping EU remit