Bulgaria's "Timber Mafia" and Hotel Lobby threaten EU-nature reserves

Decision on December 21 in the Council of Ministers, Sofia

Construction of a hotel on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast

Hotel buildings at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, (c) G. Schwaderer

© Gabriel Schwaderer


Press release, December 20, 2006


Radolfzell/Sofia. The European Nature Heritage Fund (EURONATUR) informs that shortly before Bulgaria's accession to the EU, they learn about the contempt of requirements regarding nature conservation.

With its accession to the European Union, Bulgaria is obliged to present a record listing the most important natural reserves of the country for inclusion in the European Ecological Network NATURA 2000.

EuroNatur points out that against all scientific investigations during the last four years, not even half of habitats in need of protection will be included. The decision will be taken by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers in Sofia on December 21.

Ivelin Ivanov of the Bulgarian EuroNatur partner organisation Green Balkans deplores: "More than 150 experts of different associations and institutions have been painstakingly elaborating the list. Yet for some months now, the "Timber Mafia" and the Hotel Lobby have been trying to delete as much areas as possible from the list, so that all of a sudden, only 15% instead of 30% of the country's surface shall obtain NATURA-2000 status."

Gabriel Schwaderer, manager of EuroNatur, adds: "The EU-protection does by no means exclude a sustainable use of such areas. For the conservation of endangered species, such as the eastern Imperial Eagle, wolf, lynx or vulture, but also for the local population, an ecologically sound development of the areas is much more important than the short-sighted profit motive of a few hotel owners and timber traders. Noticeably, the affected areas mainly include valuable forests in the Rhodopes and the last unspoilt coastal sections of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.

EuroNatur calls upon the Bulgarian Government to take a responsible decision on behalf of the rural population and for nature protection; at the same time, we appeal to the European Union to insist on the implementation of the environmental regulations.

Further information on www.greenbalkans.org



European Nature Heritage Fund (EuroNatur)

Konstanzer Str. 22

78315 Radolfzell


Phone 07732 - 92 72 0

Fax 07732 - 92 72 22

E-Mail info(at)euronatur.org

Internet www.euronatur.org

How you can help


Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.

Sustaining membership

EuroNatur focuses on long-term nature conservation projects instead of quick fixes. With your regular donations, you give us the planning security we need.


The entire Aoos River in Greece and its tributaries are now protected

An important step was taken today by the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy with the designation of part of the catchment area of the…

Milestone for the protection of European forests on EU-level

The EU forest monitoring law emphasises common standards for the systematic collection of data which aligns with EuroNatur’s stance advocating for the…

Still plenty of room for improvement in the Western Balkans

There is still a long way to go for all the countries of the Western Balkans if they want to become members of the EU - especially when it comes to…

EuroNatur Award 2023: Signal of support for the protection of rivers in Poland

++ Polish Save the Rivers Coalition has received the EuroNatur Award ++ Odra expansion must be halted ++ Optimism for nature conservation in Poland…

EuroNatur Award for Polish Save the Rivers Coalition

++ This year's EuroNatur Award goes to Koalicja Ratujmy Rzeki ++ The award is also a political signal for more nature conservation in Poland and all…

Illegal garbage dumps cause conflicts with bears

Illegal garbage dumps near settlements are not only a problem for the soil and the environment. They often attract brown bears. Being omnivores, the…

Urgent call to halt implementation of Odra Revitalisation Act

Construction will have devastating consequences for the Odra and surrounding areas. 51 projects aim to engineer the rivers, create artificial…

Skavica mega dam: Albanian court to scrutinise special law for U.S. contractor Bechtel

++ Constitutional complaint filed by NGOs accepted for trial ++ First milestone in fight against one of Europe’s largest reservoirs ++ Thousands of…

Growing opposition to Albanian airport

++ Bern Convention calls on Albania to stop airport construction near Narta Lagoon ++ Project in Vjosa Delta endangers thousands of migratory birds ++…