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Timber Control (FLEGT/ EU Timber Regulations)


Illegal logging takes place when timber is harvested, processed or traded in violation of the national laws of the country of harvest. Illegal logging has many negative economic, environmental and social consequences. It contributes to deforestation and to environmental degradation, which leads to loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, soil erosion, changes to ​water cycles and carbon emissions that fuel climate change. Globally, it causes economic losses estimated in billions of euro a year, part of which in taxes that the government cannot collect. Such practices harm legitimate businesses, especially SMEs by undermining the efforts and livelihoods of legitimate operators.

The European Union’s policy to fight illegal logging and improve governance in the forest sector is a major priority for environmental protection and transparency in trade. In this context, the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) was passed in October 2003 and is the first comprehensive attempt of the EU to ensure that all wood imports come from legal wood harvesting. The Action Plan blends measures in producer and consumer countries to facilitate trade in legal timber, and eliminate illegal timber from trade with the EU. The FLEGT Action Plan has led to two key pieces of legislation:

 Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market (EU Timber Regulation​);

Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community (FLEGT Regulation).

Directorate’s Role:

The Agricultural Directorate has been designated as the Competent Authority responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation and FLEGT Regulation in Malta. These regulations are legally binding on all 28 EU Member States. In this regard, the Timber Control policy within the Agricultural Directorate is responsible for carrying out the necessary checks to ensure compliance with these regulations in order fulfils its obligations as a competent authority.

Additional information:

M.E.U.S.A.C. consultation held on 4 February 2015 to present the EU Timber Regulation and FLEGT Regulation.  Presentation – EU Timber Trade Regulations​