Deforestation Regulation – Answer in writing Priority question for written answer Alexander Bernhuber (PPE)

Priority question for written answer  P-000819/2024 to the Commission
Rule 138
Alexander Bernhuber (PPE)

1. The Commission president publicly announced the aim to reduce administrative burdens for farmers where possible. When and in which way will the planned massive additional administrative burdens, costs and restrictions for farmers and forest owners arising from Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 be reduced?

2. In Austria, more than 50 % of the land is covered with forests. The forest area has expanded by 330 000 hectares in recent decades, largely on land that was previously used for agricultural purposes. In the meantime, land used for agriculture in Austria has been reduced by more than 1 000 000 hectares – mainly due to infrastructure construction. Recital 16 of Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 states that 90 % of worldwide deforestation is caused by the expansion of agriculture. Why is there no exception provided for a country such as Austria, where the situation is exactly the other way around?

3. Wood from EU forests that have been converted to agricultural use after 31 December 2020 cannot be placed on the market or exported even if there the conversion has a legal authorisation from a national authority. Why can wood from forests that have been converted to a carpark or golf course still be placed on the market or be exported?


Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius on behalf of the European Commission

The Commission proposed to change certain provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy[1], aiming to deliver simplifications while maintaining a strong, sustainable and competitive policy for EU agriculture and food.

The proposal is part of the response to the requests received from farmers’ representative organisations and Member States and complements the Commission’s short-term actions already under way to help reduce administrative burden for farmers. EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR)[2] was not included in the scope of these Commission actions.

The EUDR is based on the principle of non-discrimination and applies equally for commodities produced within and outside the EU.

The EUDR was developed in compliance with EU’s international commitments, including trade agreements and World Trade Organisation requirements.

The country benchmarking system established by the EUDR provides the possibility to assign a ‘low-risk’ level to countries, considering a range of criteria, in particular deforestation and forest degradation rates. Commodities sourced from low-risk countries will benefit from simplified due diligence obligations.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, 90% of deforestation is provoked by the expansion of agricultural land, including production of the commodities in scope of the EUDR.

The EUDR aims to reduce the deforestation driven by consumption of these commodities. Conversion of forest to urban land use does not constitute deforestation as defined by the regulation.

However, the timber harvested as a result of such conversion can only be placed on or exported from the EU market if produced legally.

  • [1]
  • [2] Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 May 2023 on the making available on the Union market and the export from the Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation and repealing Regulation (EU) No 995/2010, OJ L 150, 9.6.2023, p. 206-247.

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