- Ursula von der Leyen’s new Commission
The incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled the portfolio allocations for the new college of European Commissioners last week. The appointments are still subject to confirmation by the European Parliament, in a series of hearings starting 23 September and set to run for a couple of weeks.
On behalf of the wood-based panel industry, we would like to congratulate Frans Timmermans, Sylvie Goulard and Virginijus Sinkevičius on their nominations as the members of the incoming Commission who will be most concerned with our sector of the European economy.
- Frans Timmermans – The European Green Deal
Politically, one of President von der Leyen’s most important objectives is the European Green Deal, which aims to bring Europe’s ambitions on tackling climate change, energy policy and environmental protection to a new level. This includes enshrining the target for EU climate neutrality into law by 2050, and more ambitious goals on reducing emissions. To deliver on this promise, President von der Leyen has nominated Frans Timmermans, a Dutch Social Democrat and an incumbent Commission Vice President from the Juncker college.
As part of our industry contribution to the Green agenda, we are proud that the natural carbon sink properties of wood-based panels make the increased use of harvested wood products, such as panels, an ideal route towards the EU’s achievement of the Paris Agreement’s climate goals. Thanks to their positive effects on the environment, natural materials such as wood-based panels are well placed to contribute to the global efforts to mitigate climate change. For this reason, we urge for greater use of panels in furniture, construction, packaging and in other every day applications.
To find out more, please consult our website
- Sylvie Goulard – Internal Market
Sylvie Goulard is a former member of the European Parliament and has been nominated for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs portfolio in the new College of Commissioners.
One of her tasks will be ensuring that the EU Circular Economy Action Plan feeds into the overall EU industrial strategy. To this end, we welcome Mrs Goulard’s ambition to implement the Action Plan and to ensure an efficient and optimal use of European resources, including wood-based materials.
We also encourage Commissioner Goulard to maintain harmonised European rules as a cornerstone of the Single Market, especially in the context of the Construction Products Regulation. We oppose fragmentation on every level and promote common legislation throughout Europe for the production, import and marketing of wood-based panels.
We firmly believe that a level playing field is central to the re-establishment of a strong industrial core at the heart of Europe. For this reason, EPF has recently joined a coalition of 145 European federations known as Industry4Europe. Together we call on the European Union to implement an ambitious EU industrial strategy with a long-term vision and action plan
To find out more about how we support Industry4Europe, please consult the website.
- Virginijus Sinkevičius – Environment and Oceans
The Lithuanian nominee Virginijus Sinkevičius will be the first-ever “Greens” Commissioner. In this capacity he will lead the Commission’s work on the new Circular Economy Action Plan, looking at how to contribute to a climate-neutral economy by increasing material circulation, encouraging sustainable material cycles and addressing the environmental impact of the sourcing of raw materials.
To that end, we encourage him to enhance the role of natural materials and, in particular, the role of wood-based panels in the EU’s bio and circular economy ambitions. Panels use material from sustainable sources, with more than half of the woody biomass raw material being either recycled or an industrial by-product.
Panels are a model example of the circular economy, especially due to the principle of the “cascading use” of wood. By using, re-using and recycling wood, our industry seeks to keep this valuable resource in the material and economic cycle as long as possible.