EU VPA structures
The section of VPA Unpacked on EU stakeholders describes the roles of EU institutions and other bodies, such as the Council of the European Union, European Parliament, European Commission and EU delegations. In addition to these bodies, other structures with specific roles in Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) processes include:
The FLEGT Committee
The FLEGT Committee coordinates EU policies under the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. The European Commission chairs the committee. Members represent each of the EU member states.
EU negotiating teams
The EC negotiates VPAs on behalf of the EU, represented by a chief negotiator and an official who serves as VPA focal point. To date, negotiations in Asia have been led by the EC Directorate-General Environment. Negotiations in Africa and South and Central America have been led by the EC Directorate-General Development Cooperation.
Representatives of EU member states, the EU delegation, European Commission colleagues in Brussels and experts from the EU FLEGT Facility support the EU negotiating team. The negotiating team also interacts with European stakeholders in the European Union and with the FLEGT facilitator. The FLEGT facilitator has a neutral role and acts in the interests of a VPA, supporting both parties in the negotiations.
The EU negotiators may also interact with in-country experts and with relevant projects, such as those funded by the EU, EU member states, FAO and other donors.
Competent authorities are the authorities that EU member states have designated to receive, accept and verify FLEGT licences. In some EU member states, the competent authorities are customs or other authorities responsible for border control. Other EU member states assign this function to other government services.