EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Joke Fine Brings Embarrassment over South-east Asian Forests

  • December 3rd, 2006
  • Posted by EUEditor

berlaymont-resize-150.jpgEuropean Commission spokespersons were greeted with laughter when announcing a derisory fine for the use of uncertified Indonesian timber in the Commisison’s own building, on Friday (1.12.06)

The ecologist movement Greenpeace had tracked the product to the 13th floor of the Berlaymont, sprawling headquarters of the Commission in central Brussels.

It reported that the consignment, said to be about 1000-metres of timber, was taken from threatened Indonesian forests and sold without the internationally recognised stamp of sustainable production – from the Forest Stewardship Council.

Media spokspersons when asked about the incident admitted the timber was uncertified, and affirmed that the Commission was progressively tightening regulations against such products.

Journalists were told that agreements on certification of products, to protect forests from illegal exploitation, were still being sought with other governments.

The Malaysian government was considering such an agreement

As for the building work at the Berlaymont, a contractor had been fined EU 750 (A$ 1268.15; Dcerates) for use of the unapproved material.

One senior reporter asked if the amount might be increased, given it corresponded with a traffic fine, and the offence was against policy issued by a previous Commissioner responsible for the EC’s buildings, Neil Kinnock.

Reply: it as a set fine for the particular offence.

Picture: The Berlaymont complex has had a chequered environmental history; it was shut down over some years in the 1990s for very extensive removal of asbestos.