A Romanian NGO (Sustainably-Organised Society, or SOS) initiated a petition against the legislative initiative (PL-x nr. 9/2019) promoted by lawmakers, including Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea, on handing 650,000 ha of forest to the Church, G4media.ro reported.
The initiative was already passed with no vote by the Senate and is now being discussed in the Chamber of Deputies’ expert committees for a final vote. As opposed to restitution (for which legislation already exists), the new law aims to “re-establish the historical and legal truth”.
The forests subject to the initiative account for some 10% of Romania’s forests and are worth between EUR 3 billion and EUR 6 billion, according to SOS. It is merely buying influence and indirectly votes, ahead of four consecutive elections during the next two years, SOS accuses. The Church is the most trusted institution in Romania and its involvement in the electoral process has been frequently documented.
Notably, the Environment Ministry's forestry department has issued a negative recommendation on the legislative initiative, SOS stressed.
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