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May 6, 2021

Forestry Code, adopted without amendments suggested by PNL

The Chamber of Deputies Plenum adopted the Forestry Code with 218 votes for and 95 votes against, and overruled President Iohannis’ request of reexamination.

Iohannis had demanded the reexamination of the Forestry Code as a result of an article introduced by PSD stipulating that “an economical operator cannot purchase or process over 30 per cent of the volume of an industrial sort of wood mass of each species”.

PNL failed in its attempt to eliminate article no. 20, which provides the possibility to exploit forest areas of under 10 hectares without the obligation of reforestation.

Things will remain the same, as far as forest management is concerned. PNL has voted against the Forestry Code. I have a feeling of regret that, after three years of debates, we did not manage to find the power in the Parliament to negotiate and to approve a modern, an European Forestry Code, that would have been needed by the Romanian economy. It allows forest exploitation. At the next deluge, we will experience floods and we will see effects due to jeopardize local communities”, PNL Deputy Lucia Varga, former Environment Minister declared about the draft law initiated by PSD.

The reexaming of the Forestry Code has generated numerous accusations from behalf of PSD towards PNL but also targeting President Klaus Iohannis. Thus, Prime Minister Victor Ponta declared that Klaus Iohannis was influenced by PNL representatives defending the interests of Austrian company Schweighover Holzindustrie.

The Deputies of the Legal, Agriculture and Environment Committees have overruled last week the request to reexamine the draft law destined to change the Forestry Code, with 35 votes registered “against” the request and 21 “for”.

There were several debates targeting changes in the Forestry Code, as Liberals announced that they wanted the elimination of article no. 20. Prime Minister Ponta accused former Liberal Minister Lucia Varga of supporting the interests of private companies, and the Austrian company Schweighover threatened to leave Romania because of the Forestry Code.

The Liberals announced that they would demand resending President Iohannis reexamination request on the Forestry Code to the specialized committees of the Chamber of Deputies, in order to eliminate article no. 20 and, otherwise, they would vote against the law.

Lucia Varga pointed out that “in Romania, there are over 200,000 hectares of forests in maximum protection areas, around accumulation lakes with barriers on ascents inclined over 30 per cent and, by the forest arrangement, cutting trees is forbidden, as they protect the area in case of flood.

“PNL will only vote for the Forestry Code initiated by PSD if article no. 20 is discussed again and eliminated by committees; otherwise, PNL will vote against this code”, Lucia Varga showed about the Wednesday discussion in the Chamber of Deputies, when the draft law was introduced on the daily agenda of the plenum.


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