The war of flowers cost Euro 0.3M

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Although Dutch trucks carrying flowers were allowed to enter Romania last Thursday  after being held up for nearly a week by authorities saying they feared a dangerous bacteria, florists are counting losses estimated at Euro 300,000  for which they plan to sue the state. “A total of 32 trucks were blocked since Friday evening. Twenty-five have been authorised to enter Romania after being sealed, so tax authorities can make further checks once they reach their destination”, the chief of the Romanian tax administration (ANAF), Sorin Blejnar, told AFP.He added that five trucks had turned back while authorities seized two others because of fiscal problems.Blejnar said that a type of larva was discovered in the truck that first
triggered the alert, while viral, mycological and bacteriological tests were still being performed. Agriculture Minister Valeriu Tabara told AFP that the insects discovered did not require putting the freight in quarantine. “I am pleased that nothing dangerous has been
found but we had to be prudent”, Tabara said.

Dutch flowers and bulbs represent 90 percent of the Romanian market and local florists have been complaining of the lack of merchandise in
recent days.

“The situation is gradually coming to normal, the first trucks have already arrived in Bucharest”, the president of the florists’
association, Florin Georgescu, told AFP.

Local media linked the measures to the Dutch government’s opposition to the bid by Romania and Bulgaria to enter Europe’s visa-free
Schengen zone.

Romanian officials closed the border to what they say are “contaminated” flowers from the Netherlands after reports that Dutch officials planned to oppose bids by Romania and Bulgaria to enter Europe’s visa-free Schengen zone.

Romania denied that the decision over the weekend to impound flowers was nothing to do with the Dutch opposition to the country joining Schengen.

Customs authorities in the eastern European country said they had strong evidence that seeds, plants and flowers from the Netherlands were infected with a dangerous unspecified bacteria – and they were being kept at the border while health experts tested samples.

Bihor Financial Guard representative Calin Gal confirmed numerous transports of Dutch plants and flowers had been stopped “for checkups”.

He said: “Preliminary tests made by the local agricultural department showed that the products transported are contaminated with a dangerous
bacteria.”

Relationships between Romania and The Netherlands have become tense after the Dutch government announced it would oppose bids by Romania
and Bulgaria to enter Europe’s border-free Schengen zone.

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