While the European Commission delays the release of their Communication on Deforestation until after the elections, external pressure mounts on the EU to mitigate its complicity in global deforestation.
In a letter of 25 April 2019, more than 600 European scientists asked the EU to reduce the impact of its consumption on Amazon deforestation. The same day, an Amazon Watch report found that several European companies finance or buy from groups that are driving agro-industrial expansion into tropical forests. Such initiatives come just weeks after a Fern-led international NGO coalition, including an organisation representing over 300 Brazilian indigenous groups, called for the EU to end its participation in the assault on indigenous rights in Brazil and the destruction of the Amazon. Deforestation remains rampant due to the production of beef, chocolate and palm oil, of which the EU is a large importer.
Against this backdrop, more than 50 NGOs are pushing to make deforestation a key issue of the upcoming EU elections, when citizens from all 28 Member States will elect the 751 members of the next European Parliament. The Forest Pledge, which invites candidates to pledge to protect and restore forests if elected (FW 244), now has well over 100 signatories.
The European Commission is expected to publish a new Communication on combatting deforestation as soon as the new Parliament is up and running. This is long overdue as its recent summary of its 2019 consultation on deforestation revealed that 84 per cent of respondents believed that efforts to address deforestation and forest degradation must be stepped up at the EU level.