Dutch flowers allowed into Romania
Dutch trucks carrying flowers were allowed to enter Romania on Thursday after being held up for nearly a week by authorities saying they feared a dangerous bacteria, official sources said.
"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.
He added that florists estimate losses at 300,000 euros and plan to demand compensation from the agriculture ministry.
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.
"The 'war of flowers' did not take us into Schengen, it simply deprived us of tulips", Romania libera daily read.
Romanian authorities rejected the accusations.
© 2011 AFP