Romanian environmental groups have reported their own country to the European Commission for a systematic failure to protect the country’s forests.
The Agent Green, ClientEarth and EuroNatur organisations have joined forces to file a complaint accusing Romanian officials for the “systematic and deliberate destruction of ancient forests in the protected natural areas of Romania”.
They say that the forests destroyed in the supposedly protected areas of Romania represent two thirds of the last untouched natural forests of the European Union outside Scandinavia.
Gabriel Paun, president of Agent Green, said: “For 12 years since I joined the EU, we have been cutting off protected areas according to exploitation plans for which no environmental impact assessment has been made. Protected areas are endangered while the Ministry of the Environment does nothing to prevent this. It is time for the European Commission to intervene.”
The Romanian complaint is not without precedent and follows on from a similar complaint in 2008, when Poland was ordered by the European Court of Justice to pay 100,000 EUR (88,700 GBP) daily until the cuts in a national park were stopped.
Agent Green, which is a non-profit organisation for environmental protection, argues that Romsilva is failing to properly supervise operations inside the forestry areas.
Romsilva is a Romanian state-owned enterprise responsible for dealing with the protection, preservation and development of publicly owned forests of the Romanian state.
They predicted that: “Most likely, Romania will have to pay substantial fines, because it has deliberately and systematically destroyed the protected areas as Poland also tried to do. (…) If we talk about a single protected area in Poland, in Romania we are talking about a systemic problem, at a national level, so the possible penalties will be much higher in Romania than they were in Poland.”
Paun expects Environment Minister Gavrilescu to intervene, saying: “Obviously, Romsilva is neither willing nor able to protect our most important natural treasures. Instead, state forest officials seem to be interested primarily in profit, even with regard to the national parks’ paradise forests. Brutal deforestation is simply being covered up or legalised.”
Gabriel Schwaderer, CEO of nature conservation foundation EuroNatur, is shocked by the destruction of this European natural heritage: “Old-growth forests with deadwood are not ‘sick’ and do not need chainsaws to ‘get light’.”
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Story By: Amelia Guran, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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