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Romanian NGOs call on the European Commission to introduce a moratorium to protect local forests

Three NGOs asked Commissioner Sinkevičius to ensure compliance with the memorandum on illegal logging in Romania.

On Monday, EuroNatur, together with Agent Green and Client Earth, published the appeal. In an open letter, the organizations called on Virginijus Sinkevičius “to end the destruction of Romanian forests.”

“Given the systemic problem, the issue will not be resolved by only conversing with Romanian authorities or trusting that they will make the needed changes; they must be held legally accountable.”

The letter also states that the case will be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The EU Member States’ draft opinion also forced the European Commission to act.

The document reads:

The illegal harvest is putting the last virgin forests in Europe under threat, fuelled by foreign corporate money and driven by corruption and organised crime.

According to Nicu Ștefănuță, a member of the Fagaras Mountains and Suceava County delegation, environmental activists have filed numerous petitions reporting 80% of illegal logging. At the same time, Romanian authorities report only 0.15% of timber illegally harvested.

The EU Commission is “deeply concerned” about the problem of illegal logging stating it will continue to monitor the implementation and compliance with EU environmental legislation. Nicu Ștefănuță, MEP, announced the sending of a new letter describing three major problems. However, he noted that the Commission may need more data to bring the matter to trial.

Estonian MEP Yana Toom, having visited the sites in May 2023, stated that the data provided by the Romanian authorities was contradictory.

The European Commission has already sent an official notification to the Romanian authorities and launched a violation procedure in February 2020.

Senior communication specialist of WWF Romania Magda Constantin noted that citizens do not react to the logging problem.

“Despite numerous petitions from environmentalists, civil society is not involved in the dialogue either on the legislative side or in implementation.”

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