Croatia Needs 600 Million Euro to Finish Demining of Forest Areas

Total Croatia News

Many of the more remote areas are still dangerous, 23 years after the end of the war.

The Croatian Member of European Parliament, Marijana Petir, together with members of the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament, has submitted a question to the European Commission on plans to assist Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the demining process of 38,000 hectares of forest areas, reports Agrobiz on January 15, 2018.

Petir was supported by MEPs Czeslaw Siekierski (Poland), Marc Tarabella (Belgium), Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez (Spain), Franc Bogovič (Slovenia) and Albert Dess (Germany), who were members of a delegation of the committee which visited Croatia in September last year.

“The problem of the remaining mines is seldom mentioned at the EU level and it is forgotten that today, in the 21st century, the freedom of movement in the EU is still limited,” the MEPs pointed out, explaining that the presence of the remaining mines endangered the primary economic function of the forests, as well as represented a threat to the general security of the EU citizens.

“Just in Croatia, there are 38,000 hectares of forests contaminated with mines. The demining process is slow and expensive, and it will cost 600 million euro for all the mines to be removed. Also, one should not forget the mine problem in neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, where 120,000 hectares of forest areas are affected by mines,” said the MEPs in their question sent to the European Commission.

MEPs will seek European Union’s support to address this economic and social problem. “The EU finances demining in Southeast Asia, which we welcome, but at the same time it forgets to deal with the same problem in its member states and the close neighbourhood,” they added.

Members of the European Parliament were introduced to the problem in September 2017 by CEO of the Croatian Forests public company Krunoslav Jakupčić, during a meeting with the Croatian Wood Cluster and representatives of the bio-economy sector, which was part of the delegation’s visit to Croatia. At the time, he emphasized the importance of solving the mine problem.

Petir explained to her colleagues that Croatia had invested more than 680 million euro in demining and that the demining of the remaining 425 square kilometers was unlikely to be completed before mid-2019. Over 90 percent of the remaining mine suspect areas are forests.

Translated from Agrobiz.


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