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Directorate E - International Affairs
ENV.E.2 -Global Sustainabllity, Trade& Multilateral Agreements
Head of Unit

, 28 5. 2014
Email: eunwin@,
Email: aschulmeister@,
Subject: Clarification on the interpretation of articles 2(g), 4(1) and 19 of the
EU Timber Regulation.
Dear Ms Unwin,
Dear Mr Risso,
Dear Ms Schulmeister,
Thank you for bringingto our attention your concerns regardingtheimplementation of
Regulation (EU) 995/2010 (theEUTR) in France. I would liketo highlight that is not the
Commission's roleto providean interpretation of theEU legislation; theCourt of Justice
interprets theEU law to makesureit is applied in thesameway in all EU countries. It is
theCommission's task, however, to overseetheapplication of theUnion law in the
Member States of theUnion.
Turningto your concerns with regard to theFrench draft legislation layingdown rules on
penalties as provided for in Article19(2) of theEUTR I would liketo makethefollowing
comments: While the Regulation leaves it to the Member States to enact rules on
penalties applicableto infringements of theprovisions of theRegulation, it limits their
margin of discretion with two requirements, namely that rules on penalties must belaid
down for infringements of the provisions of the EUTR, and that penalties must be
effective, proportionate and dissuasive. Theelaboration of such penalties must also
strictly follow theletter and thespirit of therelevant provision.
Commission europenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGI - Tel. +32 22991111
Office: BU9 3/186 - Tel. direct line +32 229-6.26.14
Thecited provision of thedraft French legislation
establishes penalties for infringements
of theprovision of Article4(1) of theEUTR. This provision states "The placing on the
market of illegally harvested timber or timber products derived from such timber shall be
prohibited."h(Zamise sur le march de bois issus d'une rcolte illgale ou de produits
drivs de ces bois est interdite). Fromthetext submitted in annex to your letter it
would appear that the French draft legislation contains language, which is not in
conformity withArticle 4(1) of the EUTR and in substance represents asignificant
departurefromit: "... d'une rcolte reconnue illgale par l'autorit comptente du pays
de rcolte... If theFrench draft is adopted as it stands it risks to distort -or more
precisely limit -thecorrect application of theEUTR in Franceand could impair the
uniformity of theimplementation and enforcement of theregulation across theEU.
In reply to your specific questions:
1. Can the Commission confirm that the definition of 'illegally harvested' timber set out
in Article 2(g) of the EUTR encompasses timber harvested in contravention of the
applicable legislation in the country of harvest, and does not demand that timber has
been recognised as illegal by the authorities of the country of harvest?
Thedefinition of 'illegally harvested' timber set out in Article2(g) of theEUTR does not
requirethat timber has been recognised or established as illegal by theauthorities of the
country of harvest.
2. Can the Commission confirm that the application of the prohibition of placing on the
market illegally harvested timber or timber products derived from such timber, set out in
Article 4(1) of the EUTR, is not conditional upon the recognition by the authorities of the
country of harvest that the timber has been illegally harvested?
Theprohibition of placingon themarket illegally harvested timber or timber products
derived fromsuch timber as set out in Article4(1) of theEUTR is not conditional upon
theexplicit recognition or determination by theauthorities of thecountry of harvest that a
specific consignment or shipment of timber has been illegally harvested.
3. In light of Questions 1 and 2, can the Commission confirm that the application of
penalties for an infringement of Article 4(1) of the EUTR cannot be made conditional
upon the recognition of the illegality of the timber by the authorities of the country of
Theenactingand application of penalties for an infringement of Article4(1) of theEUTR
cannot be madeconditional upon any requirement, which is not laid down by the
provisions of this regulation.
IV bis (nouveau). - Le fait de mettre sur le march, enmconnaissancedes dispositions du1 del'article
4 durglement (UE) n 995/2010 duParlement europenet duConseil, du20 octobre2010, prcit,
des bois issus d'unercoltereconnueillgalepar l'autorit comptente du pays dercolteou de
produits drivs deces bois est puni dedeux ans d'emprisonnement et d'uneamendecompriseentre
unedeux fois lavaleur del'objet del'infraction.
4. Can the Commission confirm that Member States cannot, when they implement an EU
Regulation, adopt provisions that change the definitions set out in the said Regulation or
otherwise restrict its scope?
A regulation is directly bindingon all subjects within theEU and any national measures
adopted may not be established in a way would apply and enforce the regulation
incompletely, selectively or partially .
Yours sincerely,
For more details on the Regulations, please refer to: summaries/institutional affairs/decisionmaking process/1 i 4522 en.htm