EU Council approves EUDR
The Council of the European Union has adopted the text of the EU regulation on deforestation. The Parliament had already voted the text of the agreement. The next step will be the promulgation of the text, which will enter into force at that moment, and will be applicable 18 months later (24 months for SMEs).
After the European Parliament a few weeks ago, the Council of the European Union has adopted the text of the EU deforestation regulation (EUDR).
On May 10, the ambassadors had agreed to vote in the Council the text of the agreement reached in trilogue in December 2022, which was done this May 16 by the European ministers.
At the ambassadors' meeting, no country voted against and five abstained, including Sweden, which questioned the administrative burden that this regulation could place on smaller producers. The Presidency also criticized the lack of clarity in the control and traceability mechanism. Portugal and Slovakia criticized the definition of forest degradation, which the ambassadors believe could hinder nature restoration actions.
- The regulation is published in the EU's Official Journal (typically, the publication process can take a few days to a few weeks after the Council gives its final approval).
- The regulation enters into force 20 days after its publication.
- Companies will have to comply with all the requirements of the regulation 18 months after its entry into force.
- Operators who, as of December 31, 2020, have been established as small or micro enterprises (SMEs) will have 24 months.
The next 18 months will therefore be dedicated to preparing for its implementation, including the following activities:
- Definition and development of guidelines and tools to comply with the requirements of the EUDR: the European Commission has decided to establish 2 working groups (including at least one representative of the timber sector):
- "Traceability" group (including due diligence requirements)
- "Smallholder Inclusion" group
The purpose of these groups is to assist the multi-stakeholder platform in gathering information and elements that can be used to interpret the requirements and facilitate the implementation of the regulation. Participants will be voluntary members of the platform (Member States, third countries, NGOs and trade associations).
- Country risk benchmarking: the European Commission will classify countries, or certain regions, as low, standard or high risk through an objective and transparent assessment within 18 months of the regulation coming into force. Thus, products from low-risk countries will be subject to a simplified due diligence procedure, while the proportion of controls will be carried out on operators according to the country's risk level.
- The development and operationalization of the information system (Register): this information system will allow operators to submit their due diligence declarations and to verify the declarations already registered. This register will be interconnected with the customs, and accessible to the competent authorities to establish their controls.