The European Commission review, coming two years after the EUTR came into force, identified several “major challenges” to effective implementation.

As well as a lack of resources given to Competent Authorities responsible for enforcement in EU member states, the review found varying types and level of sanctions across member states and a lack of uniform understanding and application of the regulation throughout the EU.

“Those challenges have translated into uneven enforcement, which creates a non-level playing field for economic operators,” it said.

However, the evaluation has shown that the regulation and the communication campaigns carried out by the Commission and the member states have increased awareness of the problem of illegal logging.

Member state checks have resulted in remedial actions or penalties for infringements of the EUTR obligations, but as limited number of penalties has been applied so far, it cannot yet be determined whether they are “effective, proportionate and dissuasive”.

There have not been any closed investigation cases for violation of the prohibition obligation.

“Due to the limited time and given the insufficient experience with the enforcement of the prohibition, no conclusion could be drawn with regard to its effectiveness due to the absence of experience with its enforcement,” the review said.

The commission has recommended that member states should significantly step up their implementation and enforcement efforts.