The European Commission wants an additional 3 billion trees by 2030. Romania is losing 3 hectares of forest per hour.

In the new EU forestry strategy adopted today, the European Commission wants 3 billion more trees by 2030. At the same time, the latest country report made by the Commission reveals a dramatic situation for Romania. Intensive exploitation and illegal deforestation cost us 6 billion euros a year. Our country loses 3 hectares of forest per hour. Calculated from an estimated total of over 20 million cubic meters of illegally cut wood each year. The figures are also cited in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which provides for the allocation of min. 1 billion euros for afforestation in Romania in the coming years.

“The losses generated by illegal logging and headless exploitation cannot be counted,” says USRPLUS MEP Vlad Gheorghe.

“There are more than 100 victims in Germany following the massive floods in recent days. There are no casualties in Belgium yet, but the material damage is substantial. In Romania, this year’s floods also took human lives, destroyed access roads, bridges, entire households. It is scientifically proven that illegal logging contributes to increasing disaster risks through harmful effects on air and soil quality.

We have already requested in Brussels a budget supplement to allow the countries affected by the floods to receive Union aid through the Solidarity Fund and the Community Civil Protection Mechanism. But in vain we invest money if we do not fight environmental crimes”, underlines the MEP Gheorghe.

Moreover, there is a need for the political will of the relevant authorities at national level and for proper monitoring, reporting and collection of data on fauna and flora from all EU countries.

“There are many cases when in the documents from  Ministry of Environment and subordinated institutions, illegal logging do not exist. Both me and my colleagues from USRPLUS concerned about the forest issue, as well as environmental activists and investigative journalists showed major discrepancies between the official documentation and the situation on the ground “, explains Vlad Gheorghe.

“If we do not measure deforestation correctly and completely, we will not be able to repair what was destroyed in 30 years. Without accurate reporting, we will not be able to access the necessary funds from the European Union. Those who will suffer the most are our children, future generations. At this rate, they will see forests only in pictures “, says the MEP. He refers to the new provisions of  EU Forestry Strategy on the harmonized collection of forest data at European level.

It is the same situation that the specialists complain about in the case of protected species such as the brown bear, for which Romania does not have an official statistic of the number of specimens.

“If the authorities don’t monitor, obviously they don’t report, so in documents we do not have  problems with the forests. It is serious that the relevant Ministry does not give a clear signal in favor of data collection and thus the protection of forests. On the contrary, he recently co-signed a request supported by the wood industry by which he wanted to exactly eliminate the objectives regarding the data from the new EU Forestry Strategy “, Vlad Gheorghe also highlighted.

The USRPLUS MEP has been and is involved in numerous actions to prevent and combat deforestation. The most recent step in this direction is the proposal to set up a European Green Prosecutor with cross-border responsibilities in the fight against environmental crime.

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