Agriculture ministers were today given a progress report on draft European legislation aimed at cutting the flow of illegal timber into Europe.

The meeting in Luxembourg did not involve a debate of the proposals, which in their current form recommends that all operators in the timber supply chain must prove the legality of their timber and illegal timber suppliers must pay penalties.

A spokesperson for the European Council told TTJ that Sweden, which now takes over the EU presidency, was keen to move the issue forward, with an informal agriculture ministers meeting organised in Växjö, Sweden on September 14-15.

“The Swedes want to put the issue in the spotlight because they are a very big timber products manufacturer,” said the spokespserson.

The draft regulations currently stipulate that companies caught trading in illegally felled timber can be fined at least five times the value of the timber products concerned.