Cepi’s thoughts are with our colleagues and the people of Ukraine who are suffering an unbearable war. Today, we see how the unprovoked and unjustified Russian invasion of Ukraine has become a dramatic wakeup call to strengthen the European Union’s energy security and to build its strategic autonomy. In this context, the forest fibre-based industry offers readily available solutions to address the serious shortcomings of Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels.
In its communication, RePowerEU: Joint European action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy, the European Commission focuses on reducing Europe’s dependence on energy imports. Access to affordable clean energy is paramount to keep operations in our sector going. For months, the pulp and paper industry has been enduring high energy prices, which are skyrocketing in the recent days. Therefore, the long-overdue actions at both national and EU levels to secure the industry’s future in Europe remain critical.
Decisionmakers must also realise that Europe needs to address its dependence not only on energy imports, but also on fossil-based materials. The European economy can further minimise its fossil fuel needs by tapping into the potential of bio-based value chains to substitute carbon-intensive materials. To further build the resilience of the European economy, we call on the European Commission to reconsider its approach to renewable, bio-based products.
The forest fibre-based value chains offer readily available solutions. The upcoming Bioeconomy Strategy will be essential to make this homegrown sector of the European economy thrive. In dramatically changing circumstances, Cepi calls on the Commission to update the Forest Strategy adopted last July and make it an indispensable part of the EU’s geopolitical strategy. Europe should finally tap into the full potential of forests, forest-based products and sustainable forest management practices to reduce its dependence on fossil materials.