Chaired by the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, the Council meeting of the EU Agriculture Ministers took place on Monday via videoconference. Several topics which the German Presidency of the Council is driving forward intensively were at the heart of the talks.
The Council had already agreed upon conclusions regarding the EU forest strategy in the run-up to the meeting - due to the exceptional circumstances through a written procedure. Another key objective of the German Council Presidency has thus been achieved. The EU Commission intends to present the new strategy during the first half of 2021 as the current forest strategy is due to expire at the end of the year. The EU forest strategy is not intended to replace the forest policies of individual member states; instead it will underpin them by providing the framework for necessary measures at EU level.
Federal Minister Julia Klöckner:
It is highly significant that we were also able to achieve a common position and therefore an agreement with regard to forests in the Council. Revitalising our forests goes hand in hand with sustainable forestry. After all, it is our foresters and forest owners who have to make forest conservation and climate-smart forest conversion a reality. We need to strike a smart balance between climate change mitigation, biodiversity and economic viability.
The Council conclusions call on the EU Commission to develop a forest strategy that supports three main objectives:
-promoting sustainable and multifunctional forest management;
-supporting forestry and the forest-based sector with its millions of forest owners as part of a solution for international development goals and the associated policy objectives of the EU;
-improving the coordination and coherence of forest-related EU policies and the collaboration among member states as well as between member states, the Commission and relevant stakeholders.