European farm ministers on Monday unanimously approved two laws to curb EU imports of illegally harvested timber, so helping to combat illegal logging. The European commission will implement the scheme by drawing up partnership agreements with timber exporting countries. Several are expected next year.
The "Flegt" regulation sets a legal framework for partnerships. The text proposed by the commission in mid-2004 has been substantially modified by the council of ministers while retaining its essential thrust. Ministers also approved a recommendation authorising the commission to start partnership talks.
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