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Parliamentary questions
12 February 2008
WRITTEN QUESTION by Mikel Irujo Amezaga (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

 Subject: Trade in speleothems

Recently, the number of speleothems(1) being offered for sale has increased in a very worrying manner. People harvest small and big specimens as souvenirs, but they also sell them freely in shops all over the world (including in the EU), a deplorable act which may appear legitimate as it provides an income for the local people.

A shop in Brussels sells, from EUR 9 000 each, large speleological draperies from China, saying that they have a certificate that proves their origin and the reason for their extraction: ‘they were removed before the cave was to be flooded with water due to the construction of a dam’.

Is the Commission aware of this illegal trade with speleothems? Can the Commission investigate this problem and the potential responsive strategies to solve it? Are there not any Community laws protecting speleothems as historical heritage?

Are there really certifications which allow speleothems to be taken away when a cave is going to be destroyed?

(1)Speleothem means any natural mineral formation or deposit occurring in a cave or lava tube, including but not limited to any stalactite, stalagmite, helictite, cave flower, flowstone, concretion, drapery, rimstone or formation of clay or mud.

 OJ C 291, 13/11/2008
Last updated: 20 February 2008Legal notice