HomeNewsEU Environment Chief vows no delay on Deforestation Law during Ivory Coast visit

EU Environment Chief vows no delay on Deforestation Law during Ivory Coast visit

EU Environment Chief vows no delay on Deforestation Law during Ivory Coast visit

The European Union will not delay new legislation aimed at curbing imports linked to deforestation. 

While some governments would prefer Brussels to wait before introducing major regulations, EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius said they did not plan to delay that.

New EU rules, starting in late 2024, will require companies to prove that products sold were not grown on pristine forest land.

“We are working to ensure the law is ready to go by early 2025,” Sinkevicius said during a trip to Ivory Coast where the cocoa beans are grown

Twenty of the EU’s 27 member states asked Brussels in March to delay the rules and allow producers in countries where deforestation is not a serious problem.

They said the current policy could hurt European farmers, who have complained for months about excessive EU regulation.

Sinkevicius said the EU would listen to the concerns of member states, but the bill was passed in 2022 and developers and the government have about two years to prepare

“This bill came from nowhere,” he said.

For non-EU producers such as cocoa, such as the Ivory Coast and Ghana, it is important to be able to market their products in the EU easily, especially when prices are already very high

Ivory Coast launched a program to sustain cocoa production by March 2023, in line with the European Union’s wishes.

But according to sources in Brussels and Abidjan who spoke to Reuters in September, EU and Ivorian officials are concerned that progress in Ivory Coast is not happening fast enough.

Sinkevicius said he thinks Ivory Coast are now “very well prepared. You can see they are developing very well.”

Other countries are also preparing in various ways, he added. “It depends on the government, the farm, the production.”

Sinkevicius added that the EU would not provide anything needed to comply with the new rules.

“Companies importing into the EU and the EU budget will share part of the cost,” he said.

He said the EU is providing Ivory Coast with 50 million euros ($54 million) in aid, as well as other programs worth €12 million euro-2.5 ​​billion.

He added that the EU is working on a loan worth 150 million euros to reforest Ivory Coast.

He is scheduled to arrive in Ghana on Monday (April 8).

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