EU countries want a postponement of the climate law against deforestation

A number of EU countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, are pleading with the European Commission to postpone the introduction of the already announced climate law against deforestation. They claim that Brussels has not yet completed the administrative preparatory work, such as drawing up so-called benchmarking, the starting situations per country. 

This request for further delay comes after some Green Deal laws in agriculture were withdrawn and relaxed last month. The new proposal is supported by Bulgaria, Estonia, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Hungary. That is not yet a qualified majority.

They recently expressed their concerns about the progress of climate legislation at the ministerial council meeting in Luxembourg. They argue that the European Commission has not yet completed the necessary administrative work. This raises questions about the feasibility of introducing the laws in a timely manner.

The deforestation risk for all importing EU countries is assessed in the benchmarking announced by Brussels but not yet implemented. Without benchmarking, all countries would be ranked equally and would have to pay a disproportionate amount of red tape. Time is running out because the business community and the government must be able to prepare in time.

The EU regulation stipulates that soy, oil palm, cattle, coffee, cocoa, rubber and wood (and products made from them) may only be imported if they are not linked to deforestation. The regulation entered into force in June 2023 and the new rules are to be applied 18 months later, from the end of 2024.

In response to Member States' concerns, the European Commission has announced that it will evaluate the situation and continue the dialogue. It is emphasized that the pursuit of a greener future should not be undermined, but at the same time practical feasibility and economic impact should be taken into account.