European private forest owners continuing to chair the Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork
Mr Bernhard Budil, the Secretary General of Austrian Private Forest Owners and Farmers Association (Land&Forst Betriebe Österreich) and European private forest owners’ representative, was elected as new Chairman of the Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork (CDG F&C) in Brussels on 8 December 2015.

“I am very grateful of this vote of confidence and I firmly underline my intent to continue the balanced approach by my predecessor to follow a balanced approach when setting-up each agenda and when chairing the meetings in future. In other words, it is of vital importance to me that primary producers, industry, trade and environmental organisations and all other involved stakeholders form an open platform for discussing the various salient and upcoming forest-related EU policies with the European Commission and other experts in this important forum”, explains Mr Budil.

During the past five years the CDG F&C was chaired successfully by Mr Juha Hakkarainen, the Forest Director of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners in Finland, who also represented Copa-Cogeca, the European Farmers and Agri-cooperatives. “Over the past years the cooperation has been very successful and a special gratitude is dedicated to the Commission. We have had major issues on the table, such as the new EU Forest Strategy and many other developments that continues in near future, e.g. 2030 Climate and Energy package and the role of forests in the climate change mitigation and bioeconomy. Thank you for your trust and I look forward to continuing the work with you as a stakeholder representative” Mr Hakkarainen said in his final remarks as outgoing chairman of the CDG F&C.

The Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork builds on the work and structures of the former Advisory Group on Forestry and Cork. The group’s role is to assist the Commission in maintaining a regular dialogue on all matters related to forestry and cork, including the common agricultural policy, its implementation and new measures the Commission may be called on to take. Furthermore, it exchanges relevant experience and good practices, monitors relevant policy developments and advises the Commission on relevant policy and delivers opinions on request of the DG Agriculture or on their own initiative.

Mr Pedro Albizu, the candidate of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and Mrs Linde Zuidema, the candidate of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), were both elected as Vice-Chairmen of the Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork. The chairmanship has been elected on a basis of one year, but can be renewed for another term. Representing stakeholders, the chairman will participate also at the meetings of the Standing Forestry Committee which is the related body for the EU Member States.

The Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) expresses its gratitude to Mr Hakkarainen for his excellent contribution during his chairmanship period and congratulates Mr Budil and both vice-chairpersons for their new positions of trust.

The CEPF, which also takes over the CDG F&C secretariat service for the next term, is looking forward to closely collaborate with the new chairmanship.