General Assembly 2018 brought together representatives of forest owners from all over Europe
Europe’s private forest owners gathered in Vienna for the 2018 CEPF General Assembly to discuss current forest-related EU policy developments, achievements since previous year and future actions. The event was hosted by the Land & Forst Betriebe Österreich.

Participants of the CEPF General Assembly 2018.

On 5-7 June, the 2018 CEPF General Assembly was held in Vienna, Austria. CEPF gathers 24 members from 19 European countries under its umbrella of family forestry. During the event, the members discussed ongoing EU policy developments such as climate and energy policies and current challenges and prospects of EU strategies, especially the ones on forests and the bioeconomy. In addition, the members actively engaged in talks about EU nature policies and gave feedback on the European Commission proposal for the future Common Agricultural Policy post-2020. In the latter one, forestry plays a crucial role as it comes to the rural development and economic opportunities to be provided to the sector. CEPF’s guiding principles, namely sustainable and active forest management, acknowledgement of ownership rights and competitiveness of the forest sector, were reflected in the debates. 

The three-day program began with a joint dinner with the European Landowners’ Organisation (ELO) by the beautiful Danube river.

During the General Assembly, CEPF President Hubert de Schorlemer highlighted the importance of forest owners’ contribution to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In his speech, Mr de Schorlemer noted that there is an increasing need for enhancing the communication on benefits of the sustainable forest management and on investments made by forests owners to vitality and resilience of forests.

On behalf of the host, President of the Land & Forst Betriebe Österreich, Felix Montecuccoli welcomed the participants to Vienna and gave an introduction on the history of their organisation. On the following day, the participants of the General Assembly were invited to visit a private estate close to Vienna together with the members of the European Landowners’ Organisation (ELO). The estate consisted of over 900 ha of forests with 15 different mixed tree species (approximately 60% softwood and 40% hardwood) and 200 ha of arable land. In addition to forestry and agriculture, hunting, fishing, housing and community biomass heating were some of the many services provided by the estate.

The joint excursion with the European Landowners’ Organisation (ELO).

As part of the formal procedures, the CEPF General Assembly unanimously re-elected Philipp zu Guttenberg (AGDW, Germany), Olivier Bertrand (Forêt Privée Francaise, France), Sven Erik Hammar (LRF, Sweden), Hubert de Schorlemer (Letzebuerger Privatbesch, Luxembourg) and Zdenco Bogovic (CUPFOA, Croatia) as Board members for the period 2018-2020. A new board member, António Paula Soares (CAP, Portugal), was elected for the same period. Mr Soares is a member of the Portuguese farmers confederation (CAP) and a member of CAP Board. The CEPF President and the GA participants warmly welcomed Mr Soares to the CEPF Board.

The new CEPF Board member António Paula Soares (CAP, Portugal).

The current CEPF President and Chairman of the Board Hubert de Schorlemer (President of the Luxembourg Private Forest Owners Association) was re-elected as a CEPF President for another two years period.

CEPF Board 2018-2019: Antonio Soares, Sven Erik Hammar, Olav Veum, Arnis Muižnieks, Juha Marttila, Olivier Bertrand, Hubert de Schorlemer, Felix Montecuccoli, Zdenko Bogovic, Philipp zu Guttenberg and Michal Podstatzky-Lichtenstein.

CEPF extends its warmest gratitude to the hosts from The Land & Forst Betriebe Österreich, President Felix Montecuccoli, Secretary General Bernhard Budil and Assistant Isabella Brand for organising and hosting an excellent General Assembly 2018.
The next year’s General Assembly will be held in Portugal in June 2019.