The European People’s Party (EPP), of which Fine Gael is a member, has called on the European Commission to postpone new deforestation legislation, which is due to come into effect at the end of this year.

Peter Liese, a prominent German MEP and environment spokesperson for the EPP set out his position in a speech to party delegates at a recent conference in Portugal.

“The European Commission absolutely must postpone the entry into force of the deforestation regulation and then use the transitional period to reduce bureaucracy in the text,” Liese stressed.

Deforestation legislation

The legislation is the first of its kind worldwide and will effectively ban all agricultural imports to the EU that have been grown on newly deforested land.

It aims to reduce the EU’s deforestation footprint globally by imposing barriers on commodities like cocoa, soy, beef and coffee that can not validate sustainable production origins.

While Liese has reasserted the EPP’s commitment to reducing the EU’s deforestation footprint, he has also contested the bureaucratic nature of the new act.

He stated: ‘”We must do something about deforestation worldwide and take our responsibility seriously.

“It is unacceptable for areas the size of eleven soccer pitches to fall victim to deforestation per minute”.

Liese believes the proposed deforestation legislation has been wrangled by the Greens, Social Democrats, Leftists and French liberals who he claims have created a “bureaucratic monster”.

His comments come after Biden’s administration also aired its concerns about the act in a letter in May of this year, in which it urged the legislation to be postponed.

According to the EPP environment spokesperson the text of the act is unworkable in its current form and it has faced complaints and opposition from farmers within Europe and outside the bloc as well.

He also asserts that the commission’s preparation ahead of the new law’s enactment has been ill conceived and that it has not yet undertaken the preparation required to successfully implement the regulation ahead of it’s enactment date.

Confident

However Liese remains confident that the commission will soon agree to postpone the legislation and the European Parliament will in turn ratify this.

He believes this will be a temporary solution and will provide the necessary time required to address the red tape involved with the act.

While Liese speaks as EPP coordinator of their environmental committee, no formal decision has yet been taken by the party in relation to the law.

The EUDR passed through parliament with an overwhelming majority back in April 2023, without any opposition from EPP’s delegates at the time.

Green Growth Deal

The centre right EPP is the largest and oldest political group in the European Parliament currently and also the party of Ursula Von der Leyen, president of the commission.

It won 188 seats in last month’s European parliament elections.

The EPP has continued to express their bid to develop the EU’s Green Deal into a Green Growth Deal and although the party remains committed to the EU’s climate targets, it also wants to minimize the red tape required to achieve these targets.