EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Licensing system for imports of timber to the EU



Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 establishing a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber


  • Known as the forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) regulation, it ensures that timber and timber products exported to the EU by partner countries that have signed a voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) with the EU and implement a FLEGT licensing scheme have been harvested legally.
  • It complements Regulation (EU) No 995/2010, which aims to prohibit the placing of illegally harvested timber and products derived from such timber on the EU market.
  • It was amended by Regulation (EU) No 657/2014, Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1387 and by Regulation (EU) 2019/1010.


  • This regulation applies to imports of timber products listed in Annexes II and III from partner countries listed in Annex I.
  • Membership of the FLEGT licensing scheme is implemented through voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs) with timber-producing countries that wish to sign such agreements with the EU. Each VPA specifies the agreed schedule and the commitments.
  • Exporting countries that sign a VPA must develop a verification system for the legality of their timber products.
  • All timber shipments from VPA countries that have an operational FLEGT licensing scheme must be covered by a FLEGT licence that certifies compliance with the requirements of the FLEGT licensing scheme. Without a FLEGT licence, timber shipments cannot enter the EU market.
  • When there is any doubt about the validity of a FLEGT licence at an EU border, competent authorities must request further verification by the authority that issued the licence (the costs of the check are met by the importer unless the EU country in question decides otherwise). Customs authorities may suspend the release of timber if they believe the FLEGT licence to be invalid.
  • EU countries must determine the sanctions to be imposed for violation of this regulation.


  • Regulation (EU) No 657/2014 amended Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 granting the European Commission the power to adopt delegated and implementing acts.
  • Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1387 amends Annexes I and III, recognising the fact that Indonesia became the first partner country to have an operational FLEGT licensing scheme and issue FLEGT licences.
  • Regulation (EU) 2019/1010 amends the original regulation with regard to the reports that EU countries have to prepare each year. Under the original regulation, they had to submit a report to the European Commission indicating quantities of timber imports under the FLEGT licensing scheme, the number of licenses received and the number of cases and quantities of timber and timber products imported without a FLEGT licence (i.e. prohibited imports). The amending regulation does not, however, specify what should be included in the report to be submitted by EU countries. It also requires EU countries not only to submit these reports to the Commission, but also to make them available to the public.
  • Regulation (EU) 2019/1010 also requires the Commission to submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the functioning and effectiveness of the regulation every 5 years starting in 2021.


It has applied since 30 December 2005.


The FLEGT authorisation system was first proposed in 2003 in the FLEGT action plan, which aimed to combat illegal logging and improve the supply and demand of legal timber. It mainly targeted the timber-rich regions of central Africa, Russia, south-east Asia, and parts of South America.

For more information, see:


Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community (OJ L 347, 30.12.2005, pp. 1-6)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Regulation (EU) 2019/1010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the alignment of reporting obligations in the field of legislation related to the environment, and amending Regulations (EC) No 166/2006 and (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directives 2002/49/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2007/2/EC, 2009/147/EC and 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 338/97 and (EC) No 2173/2005, and Council Directive 86/278/EEC (OJ L 170, 25.6.2019, pp. 115-127)


Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1387 of 9 June 2016 amending Annexes I and III to Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 following a voluntary partnership agreement with Indonesia for a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Union (OJ L 223, 18.8.2016, pp. 1-9)

Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market (OJ L 295, 12.11.2010, pp. 23-34)

last update 11.09.2019