Romanian MEP, after the European Parliament’s inspection of the forests of Romania: “Wood theft is significant in Romania!”

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MEP Nicu Ștefănuță (the Greens/EFA) was part of a delegation this week to the forests of Romania, organised by the European Parliament Committee on Petitions. Together with 7 other MEPs, Nicu Ștefănuță, the only member of the Committee on Environment, in the delegation, visited the forests of Făgăraș and Suceava. The aim of the mission was to show the impact of illegal deforestation in Romania and find solutions to stop it.

The conclusion of the visit point to:

  • The figures communicated by the authorities are not plausible. “In Suceava we were told that just 0.15% of the timber is harvested illegally. However, this is impossible. The police themselves say that just in the domain of transport there is already 3% of illegal wood. NGOs say up to 80% of it is illegally harvested. The Institute for Forestry Research gives a figure of 50%. Moreover, the abuses, the violence against environmental activists would not be justified if the figures for illegal timber theft were so low,” says Nicu Ștefănuță;
  • Romania has a new infringement procedure. “European Commissioner for the Environment, Virginijus Sinkevičius, already has a decision on infringement proceedings against illegal deforestation in Romania on the table. It is in our interest to stop the theft so that we do not have infringements, i.e. huge fines from the European Commission”, adds the MEP;
  • When it comes to illegal logging, it is not just quantity that matters, but also quality. “If you cut valuable wood from a virgin forest, from a centuries-old forest, it’s not the same as if you cut from a forest that is only a few years or decades old. It’s much worse for the ecosystems, the soil doesn’t recover, the forest no longer has the function of capturing carbon dioxide,” says Nicu Ștefănuță;
  • Romania has a great opportunity to gain from biodiversity. “37% of the EU budget is related to the environment and 7% to biodiversity. We, beyond <<Mary’s Garden>>, are Noah’s Garden – we have everything, we have an extraordinary richness, we have countless species of animals and plants. The MEPs were impressed by this beauty. So European money is directly linked to our ability to take it” concludes the Romanian MEP.

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