The European Process
The European Commission is mandated by the Council of the EU to negotiate FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements, developing legislative proposals to remove illegal timber from the European market and taking forward a range of other initiatives which aim to meet the objectives set out in the EU FLEGT Action Plan. Work under the Plan is lead jointly by DG DEVCO and DG Environment.
The European Parliament, the only directly-elected body of the European Union, can hold the European Commission to account for progress towards the aims of the Action Plan. With the Lisbon Treaty, the Parliament gained more influence on the process of adoption of new EU legislation, as the co-decision procedure was extended to new policy areas. Parliament`s role in the process of concluding international agreements has also been enhanced, as the Council will ask for its consent in the majority of cases.
The Council of the EU is the main decision making body of the European Union. The ministers of the Member States meet within the Council of the European Union and, depending on the issue on the agenda, each country will be represented by the minister responsible for that subject (e.g. foreign affairs, finance, social affairs, transport, and agriculture). FLEGT issues are discussed by the Agriculture and Fisheries Council.
In addition to formal updates in the Council and Parliament, the European Commission and EU Member States coordinate their activities on global forestry issues through an Ad Hoc Working Group on FLEGT, coordinated by DG DEVCO.