Today, the European Parliament voted in favour of amending the Commission’s proposal and continuing negotiations on the regulation. The forest industry expects further negotiations to better take into account the Member States’ diversity as well as the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of the measures.

The forest industry supports restoration as one of the measures to improve biodiversity and adaptability. At the same time, the forest industry has called for balanced consideration of the Member States’ regional characteristics as well as social, environmental and economic sustainability in the legislation.

The proposed regulation published by the Commission last year contained ambitious goals, the achievement of which would result in unreasonably high costs for Finland compared to the other Member States. The impact assessment of the proposal was also incomplete, and it did not include an assessment of, for example, the indirect effects of the regulation on the availability and use of European raw materials. The forest industry also questioned the transfer of authority to the Commission, as presented in the proposed regulation.

The European Parliament’s committees recognised the issues with the Commission’s proposal. All three committees (the Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries Committees) ended up recommending the rejection of the proposal in the plenary session. The plenary vote to reject the Commission’s proposal was close, and the proposal was not rejected. In the follow-up vote, the Parliament ended up accepting the position negotiated by the Member States as the basis of its position, supplementing it with its own amendments.  

- The forest industry considers the final result achieved in the vote to be favourable regarding the decision to limit habitat restoration measures to the Natura 2000 area and to remove the unrealistic ban on the deterioration of habitat types. The position approved by the Parliament is a strong message to the Commission that substantial changes must be made to the regulation in accordance with the positions of the Council and the Parliament, says Paula Lehtomäki, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

The Parliament’s voting result means that the negotiations regarding the regulation will continue in the autumn between the Commission, the Council consisting of the Member States and the Parliament. The Council adopted its position in June.

Restoration is an important method in improving nature’s ability to adapt to the future climate. In June, the Council outlined many important issues, such as increasing the powers of the Member States and making the restoration goals more reasonable. The effects of the use of renewable sources of raw materials, such as forests, must be better assessed. Finland must continue to exert strong influence in order to achieve a balanced regulation, says Lehtomäki.