The Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine share the desire of Ukrainian citizens to protect their forest and are ready to support Ukraine in this direction, though it is noted that the round wood export ban was introduced for the benefit of some vested groups and won’t prevent illegal logging and smuggling.
“The Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine would like to assure Ukrainians that we share your desire to protect the natural environment of Ukraine. The EU policy and the European integration nowise lead to forest harvesting, but help to counteract instead. If Ukraine decided it wanted to protect more of its forests - including more of the unique biosphere in the Carpathians - the EU would be supportive,” reads the message on their official web-site.
EU Delegation also called a ban on all logging (or limited logging) or even access restrictions in a particular protected area, for justified and demonstrable environmental reasons “perfectly legitimate and acceptable: as long as such a ban or other restrictions apply equally to all.”
The message also pays the readers’ attention to the fact that despite the wood ban the illegal logging and smuggling of the wood are still taking place.
Thee suggest that the reason for that is that the current ban on the export of wood does not achieve the goals of sustainable development of Ukraine's forests.
“It simply serves the needs of some vested interests in the wood processing industry, allowing them to get exclusive and unrestricted access to forestry resources in order to exploit them for themselves. The ban is not preventing deforestation. And it does not prevent illegal logging or smuggling of wood as these illegal activities become more profitable.”
The EU would strongly support higher penalties for such crimes and more effective enforcement actions in this field. At that the EU declares their readiness to “strongly support higher penalties for such crimes and more effective enforcement actions in this field.”
Also the fact of violation of Ukraine’s free trade agreements seems very disturbing to the EU Delegation.
“The reason the EU opposes the current wood ban is because it is a restriction on free trade. It is against Ukraine's international commitments under the World Trade Organisation and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Free trade agreements, which generate economic growth and jobs for both parties, mean equal access to each other's' markets. The EU is opening its Single Market to Ukraine, offering massive opportunities to Ukrainian companies, and Ukraine is expected to do the same for the EU. We have been working with the Ukrainian authorities to find a solution which strikes a fair balance between permitting fair and equal access to natural resources, promoting trade, investment and economic development, and protecting the valuable and unique natural resources of Ukraine.
As it was reported earlier, the EU is listing repeal of round wood export ban among other conditions of the next tranche of another 600 million Euro of macro-financial aid for Ukraine.
Earlier, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker after the Ukraine-EU Summit announced that the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed the intention to lift the round wood export ban.