The European Commission has sent letter of formal letter urging Romania to stop illegal logging and “to properly implement the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which prevents timber companies from producing and placing on the EU market products made from illegally harvested logs.”
EC argues that in the case of Romania, the national authorities have been unable to effectively check the operators and apply appropriate sanctions.
“Inconsistences in the national legislation do not allow Romanian authorities to check large amounts of illegally harvested timber. In addition, the Commission has found that the Romanian authorities manage forests, including by authorising logging, without evaluating beforehand the impacts on protected habitats as required under the Habitats Directive and Strategic Environmental Assessment Directives. Furthermore, there are shortcomings in the access of the public to environmental information in the forest management plans. The Commission also found that protected forest habitats have been lost within protected Natura 2000 sites in breach of the Habitats and Birds Directives. Therefore, the Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice to Romania, giving it one month to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion to the Romanian authorities.”
Call to adopt national air pollution control programmes
The Commission has also urged Romania, but also Greece and Malta to take actions in countering pollution, namely to adopt their first national air pollution control programmes and to communicate them to the Commission, as required under Directive (EU) 2016/2284 on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants.
“Under this Directive, Member States are obliged to draw up, adopt and implement their respective programmes to limit their annual emissions. The Directive aims at achieving levels of air quality that do not give rise to significant negative impacts on and risks to human health and the environment. Member States should have provided their first national air pollution control programmes to the Commission by 1 April 2019. Despite previous reminders, Greece, Malta and Romania have until now failed to meet their obligations. The Commission has therefore decided to issue a letter of formal notice giving the countries two months to reply, adopt and communicate their plans within this deadline. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion to the Romanian, Greek and Maltese authorities.”