MEP Petri Sarvamaa: The Commission treats Nordic forest industry like a fool


Press Release 22.4.2021.

MEP Petri Sarvamaa: The Commission treats Nordic forest industry like a fool

Yesterday, the European Commission published the First Delegated Act on the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, which sets out the technical screening criteria for economic activities that contribute to the environmental objectives of climate change adaptation and mitigation. The EU Taxonomy aims to provide a benchmark for investments and support Europe’s green growth strategy. According to MEP Petri Sarvamaa (EPP, FI, member of AGRI), the Commission’s work is disappointing for the forestry sector and does not recognise the efforts made by the sector in climate action.

“This is a flawed paper based on a green ideology, feeding certain Commission decision-makers’ personal ambitions. It is indeed absurd to punish the forestry practices that will help EU Member States such as Finland and Sweden to achieve more ambitious climate goals in a shorter timeframe than the EU average.”

According to Sarvamaa, the whole set up is alarming for the Nordic forestry industry. “The proposal is complex and it is unclear, what the practical impact will be on forest owners. The same objectives could have been achieved in a simpler way, taking into account the needs of the people who manage and use our forests. The importance of wood-based products as substitutes for fossil raw materials and products is also completely overlooked by the framework.”

In a worst-case scenario, the Nordic forestry sector would be excluded from sustainable financing, which would pose severe challenges for the further development of the bio-circular economy. In terms of future investments, the situation would be very challenging.

“Extreme thinking really flourishes on forest issues at the EU level. Not only within the usual suspects, but also in several corners of the political colour spectrum. In particular, some of the Commission’s green leaning leadership has turned a blind eye on forest issues altogether. They imagine that only by conserving all European forests they will save the world.” They imagine that everything except untouched forests will harm the climate and biodiversity, which is far from the truth.

The European Commission had to withdraw the first version of the Delegated Act at the end of the year due to a huge number of comments. A large number of Member States, Finland and Sweden at the forefront, were defending sustainable forestry against the Commission. According to Sarvamaa, the DA published yesterday is a slight step forward compared to the December version, but there is still a real distance from the ideal situation.

“Without immense influence and pressure from Finland and Sweden, the result would have been even worse,” Sarvamaa says.

“In addition to worrying developments, my great concern is also the state of democracy. How can the Commission define such detailed proposals with regard to forest policy, which is in the competence of the Member States, without taking the European Parliament and the Council into account? The situation has to change, and the proposal has to be rejected again”, Sarvamaa concludes.