Von der Leyen visits Swedish forest

Ursula von der Leyen på besök i svenska skogen
From left: Ebba Busch, Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, Ulf Kristersson, Maria Malmberg, forest owner, Gustaf Silén, forest owner, Lotta Lyrå, Chairman Swedish Forest Industries Federation, Magnus Berg, Swedish Forest Industries Federation. Photo: Tom Samuelsson, Regeringskansliet

On Monday, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Minister of Business, Industry and Innovation Ebba Busch, met European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and visited a forest outside Knivsta, north of Stockholm. They discussed the Swedish forestry industry with landowners and chair of the Swedish Forest Industries Federation, Lotta Lyrå.

"Swedish forestry and the forest industry already provide significant climate benefits. The fact that the President of the European Commission is interested in and visits Swedish forests underscores the unique future potential of the industry. By using forests as a sustainable resource and benefiting from renewable wood raw material, the EU can both phase out fossil fuels and strengthen its competitiveness," says Lyrå. 

During the visit, von der Leyen, Kristersson and Busch were given a tour of the forest by the local landowner. The tour focused on climate, increased growth, and environmental considerations in forestry. This is von der Leyen’s second visit to Sweden in the past six months with a forest focus. In January, she visited Stora Enso's Innovation Centre in Nacka, outside Stockholm. 

"The solutions to many of the EU's future challenges are literally growing in forests. A long-term approach and a stable regulatory environment are key to harnessing all the benefits forests have to offer. Actively managed forests and more renewable forest products are vital to a growing European bioeconomy," says Lyrå. 

Following elections for the European Parliament later this month, the bloc’s overarching political programme for the next five years will be developed. The Swedish Forest Industries Federation wants to have an active and positive role in developing EU policy for the coming mandate period and has therefore drafted a proposal - A Greener, Stronger European Union - which highlights several key themes: climate neutrality, circularity, sustainably managed forests, and a resilient and competitive EU.