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Malmström: "Palm oil production should be addressed in a comprehensive and balanced manner"

Answer to a question by MP Louis Michel

Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the European Commission (24.5.2019)

The Commission is aware of the concerns associated with the production of palm oil, including in terms of its environmental impact. At the same time, palm oil is a very important source of income and employment in producing countries, including for millions of smallholders. It should also be noted that oil palm is an efficient crop, which on average has higher yields than other crops used for the production of vegetable oils.

The Commission considers that palm oil production should be addressed in a comprehensive and balanced manner, taking into account both the challenges and the opportunities that it presents. The Commission continues to encourage efforts of the producing countries and of the different actors involved in the palm oil supply chain towards the sustainable production of palm oil, such as the enhancement of certification schemes for sustainable palm oil and the strengthening of relevant legal frameworks – and of their enforcement - in producing countries. 

More broadly, it supports partner countries in their efforts to address deforestation, such as through support of sustainable forest management and capacity building for well informed and transparent land use decisions. With respect to uses in the transport sector, as requested by the European Parliament and Council in the recast Renewable Energy Directive(1), the Commission adopted a delegated act setting out criteria for determining high indirect land use change (ILUC)-risk feedstock and for certification of low ILUCrisk fuels(2), under which palm oil currently qualifies as high ILUC-risk feedstock. The Commission is not working on specific measures to regulate import volumes of palm oil or of other vegetable oils derived from specific crops.

(1) Directive (EU) 2018/2001. 

(2) C(2019) 2055 final of 13 March 2019.


Here the Question for written answer E-000531/2019 to the Commission

Louis Michel (ALDE)

Subject:      Palm oil

Palm oil is the most widely produced cheap vegetable oil in the world. The methods used to produce this foodstuff which is so popular with the agri-food industry are giving rise to tensions, however.

Vast quantities of water and fertiliser are needed to improve palm oil yields. The authorities in palm oil-producing countries also engage in deforestation to increase production, and local people are the victims of these irresponsible practices. Palm oil production thus has a very real impact on the environment.

Given that the EU is the third-highest importer of palm oil in the world, what steps will the Commission take to regulate palm oil imports into Europe?

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