Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania’s Social Democratic Party (PSD), has called for more effort to preserve Europe’s last remaining virgin forests in Romania.
At a meeting on Thursday with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, Dragnea described the forests as a “national treasure.”
His comments come amid claims that a major Austrian timber company that supplies DIY stores across Europe sources illegally logged timber from Romania’s vast and largely intact forests.
Romania has lost 28,000 hectares of forests in the last ten years, much of it to illegal logging, and in May last year, thousands of people marched through ten Romanian cities calling for government action to protect the forests.
At his meeting in Vienna with Kern, Dragnea the two men discussed a range of issues,including security and the Romanian community in Austria.
But the issue of Austrian involvement in the Romanian forestry sector took prominence in the discussions.
Afterwards, the Socialist leader said, “Most importantly, I brought the concerns of the Romanian people about the need to preserve our forests and our environment to the Chancellor’s attention.”
He added, “This natural resource is our treasure and national heritage and for that reason, I explained to the Chancellor that the PSD will establish clear regulations and expectations for foreign logging companies, so that Austrian firms doing business in Romania can contribute to our economy in a fair and reasonable way without fear of harassment.”
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