German and Austrian ministries of agriculture statement on the Forest Strategy
On the occasion of a joint meeting at Wartenstein Castle in Oberhausen (D), the Austrian Federal Minister for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism Elisabeth Köstinger and her German counterpart Julia Klöckner signed a joint declaration on August 26, 2021 in which they reoriented and balanced the new forest strategy of the EU. In it, the ministers clearly advocate an EU Forest Strategy for 2030, which sensibly complements the forest policy of the EU member states, but does not replace or counteract it. Above all, this includes a joint approach to strengthen the resilience of forests to climate change and the promotion of supplies, including for the bioeconomy and timber construction, with the most important renewable raw material wood from our own, sustainably managed forests. The EU-wide forest support should be implemented in a practical manner and reward the environmental achievements of forest owners within the EU framework accordingly.
The ministers said they support an EU forest strategy that complements national policies but does not replace them, as expertise has been built nationally and different experiences are specific to the territories. “There is no justification for centralising the forest policy,” the ministers argued.
Minister Köstinger said "forests are not only a place to live and relax, but also an area for business and work”. They make a “significant contribution to climate protection”, so they should be seen as part of the solution, a call supported by other 11 EU member states, she added.
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