EC addresses challenges of forest-based industries

The European Commission adopted, on the 27th February 2008, a 19-point plan to address the challenges facing forest-based industries, which are adapting to deal with increased global competition, climate change and energy and wood supply availability. Important competitiveness challenges cover innovation, access to non-EU markets and high energy and transport costs. Moreover, the access to and availability of new and recovered raw material at competitive prices and the strategic role of this sector in limiting climate change are issues which need to be addressed specifically in order to provide the right framework conditions within which this industrial chain can prosper and grow. Furthermore, and in particular in the woodworking and printing sectors, the dimension of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) is especially relevant. The communication is part of the Commission's integrated industrial policy consisting of horizontal and sectoral measures.

What is an integrated industrial policy?
An integrated approach to policy aims to address sector-specific as well as horizontal issues. Based on a detailed screening of 27 individual industrial sectors, a communication emphasises the horizontal nature of industrial policy and the need to integrate its different aspects, categorically rejecting any return to the old days of protectionism, subsidies and selective intervention.

Proposed actions
The Commission is proposing 19 actions in five different areas within a coherent approach towards strengthening the competitive position of the forest-based industries in Europe, while integrating the climate change objectives into the industrial strategy. These areas are:

  1. Access to raw materials.
  2. Climate change policy and environmental legislation.
  3. Innovation, research and technological development .
  4. Trade and cooperation with third countries.
  5. Communication and Information.

Member States, regional authorities, academic and educational institutions will be invited to cooperate within multinational networks in order to examine and ensure the follow-up of long-term changes in the forest-based industries.
The proposals have been subject to a public consultation and have been reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Community Policy regarding Forestry and Forest-based industries.

More information
For details on the Commission's apprach to sector industry and further initiatives visit Forest based industries.