Stop the deforestation! 106,000 people are calling for protection of Romania’s forests

++ Successful petition for Romania's primary and old-growth forests ++ NGOs are protesting in Brussels against the inaction of EU Environment Commissioner Sinkevičius ++ Infringement proceedings for illegal logging stuck ++

Forest protectors in front of the Berlaymont building in Brussels

In front of the Berlaymont building in Brussels at 11 April 2024: Raluca Nicolae (left), Head of Mobilisation, Agent Green and Susanne Schmitt, Project Manager Forest Conservation, EuroNatur

© Anika Konsek/ EuroNatur
Forest roads run across extensive clear-cuts in the Romanian Fagaras Mountains.

Făgăraș Mountains Natura 2000 area: drone photo of several clear-cuts and forest roads.

© Agent Green
The sun shines on the forest in the Boia Mica valley.

They still exist: intact primary and old-growth forests in Făgăraș Mountains, Natura 2000 area.

© Matthias Schickhofer

Brussels, Radolfzell, Bucharest. Joined by over 106,000 concerned citizens, NGOs EuroNatur and Agent Green demand EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius to "Stop the illegal logging of Romania's ancient forests. Save our natural heritage!" Today's action in front of the Berlaymont building in Brussels is directed against the Environment Commissioner's persistent inaction to take effective measures against the destruction of Europe's last primary and old-growth forests - despite four years of ongoing  infringement proceedings.

“Even though EU Environment Commissioner Sinkevičius is in the last months of his mandate, I strongly believe that he can retire in glory by finally doing the right thing for Romania’s forests and for future generations: to urgently send Romania’s infringement case to the European Court of Justice”, states Raluca Nicolae, Head of Mobilisation, Agent Green.

In February 2020, the European Commission opened an infringement procedure against the Romanian government after EuroNatur, Agent Green and Client Earth had submitted a complaint for illegal logging of primary and old-growth forests in Natura 2000 areas. The facts indicate that the destruction has continued unabated since then, as shown by the findings of the latest report by Agent Green and EuroNatur, among others.

Despite overwhelming facts shared in numerous conversations with Virginijus Sinkevičius' employees and him personally over the past few years, he has still not referred the case to the European Court of Justice.

“Four years is a long time to rely on talks. The problem is systemic and, therefore, cannot be solved at a national level. The issue must finally be prioritised after the EU parliamentary elections at the latest. The new Commission may not repeat the mistakes of the old one," stresses Susanne Schmitt, Project Manager for Forest Conservation at EuroNatur.

With the upcoming EU elections approaching, the NGOs are calling on the EU Commissioner to instruct the new Commission to take decisive action against the illegal logging of Romania's primary and old-growth forests. A request from the NGOs for a personal meeting has so far gone unanswered.

 Background information:

  • Romania has more than 500,000 hectares of potential primary and old-growth forests, more than any other EU Member State (except for Scandinavia). Approximately 300,000 hectares of Romania’s forests are protected by European laws as Natura 2000 sites. Many protected species, such as bears, wolves, black storks, owls, woodpeckers, bats, and beetles, and humankind are dependent on these forests, as the European lung.
  • The campaign “Save Paradise Forests” is advocating the strict protection of the primary and old-growth forests of the Carpathians, particularly in Romania. It is being jointly coordinated and carried out by the German NGO EuroNatur and its Romanian partner, Agent Green.

You are welcome to use the attached photos once free of charge in connection with this press release, stating the copyrights. They are also available in print quality on request.

Anika Konsek, EuroNatur: anika.konsek(at), phone: (+49) 7732 9272 26
Raluca Nicolae, Agent Green: raluca.nicolae(at), phone: (+40) 721 51 11 25

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