How serious is the EU about ending deforestation?

March 28, 2023

On 29 March, the EU institutions have a last chance to save over 600,000 hectares of forests and peatlands, by agreeing on a fast phase-out of soy and palm oil in the bloc’s biofuels

Since Autumn last year, the EU institutions are negotiating a revision of the bloc’s ‘Renewable Energy Directive’ (RED). The final negotiations have been set for March 29. On the table for this last round of talks between the Commission, Council and Parliaments is the Parliament’s proposal to include soy in the phase-out of biofuels with a high risk of deforestation, currently limited to palm oil only.

The use of both shall also end much earlier than the currently agreed 2030 timeline. But the Commission is blocking this proposal, out of concerns over being sued again at the World Trade Organisation and out of concerns over such a move jeopardising trade talks with the Mercosur countries in South America.  The Council, currently led by Sweden, is sitting on the fence, with only some member states (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Germany) having expressed their support for the Parliament’s proposal.

In this short briefing, we show how much forests and peatlands are at risk, if the Commission is successful and nothing changes. T&E urges the Commission and also the Council, to agree to the Parliament’s proposal, supporting a rapid phase out of both soy and palm oil from EU biofuels.

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