Posted on 15 May 2015
Some 20,000 were in the streets last Saturday
On Saturday, more than 20,000 people marched on the streets of more than 10 cities in Romania to demand that forests be respected, protected from illegal logging and preserved. Besides Bucharest, protests also took place in cities such as Cluj, Timisoara or Brasov and abroad -- in Austria, UK, Germany, Denmark, and other countries. People also supported protests in neighbouring Bulgaria.
The protests come in the wake of an undercover investigation by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) into suspected illegal logging activities of the Austrian company Holzindustrie Schweighofer -- a major investor in Romania and one of the main logging companies in the country. They are also considered involved in the currently blocked new forestry legislation. It is expected that very soon Romanian parliament is going to vote the law again after a veto by the country’s president. (ed. The forestry code was adopted 10 June, 2015 with all WWF-proposed amendments.)
The Romanian Carpathians are among Europe’s last great wilderness areas. They hold the continent’s largest remaining numbers of large carnivores like bears, wolves and lynx outside Russia, and are also home to a major part of old-growth forests.
In February, the Romanian parliament accepted the Forest Code with amendments put forward by WWF and other NGOs. However, on 23 March 2015, the Romanian president vetoed the law, and returned it to parliament for further discussion. The president argued that the law would violate free market rules – its amendment limited the amount of wood of any type that any company could buy to 30% of all.
To ensure biodiversity conservation and local community welfare, WWF Romania had been actively involved in drafting amendments to the Forest Code for the past 4 years.
is WWF Romania’s position from 25 March 2015 immediately following the veto of the Forest Code, still relevant in the context of the upcoming parliament vote.