Hungarians stage protest amid fuel crisis: Thousands of Hungarians have demonstrated against an easing of logging regulations to meet the rising demand for firewood in the midst of Europe’s worsening fuel crisis. The cabinet of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban decided earlier this month to relax logging regulations, citing the impact of the Ukraine conflict on oil and gas prices. Many environmental activists, however, were adamantly opposed to this action because they believed it would hasten deforestation and cause irreparable environmental damage. “That is our shared future. On our skins, we all feel the effects of climate change, and cutting down trees will only make it worse “said protester Fanni Fodor. Hungarians stage protest as logging rules eased amid fuel crisis Friday’s rally was organized by the green liberal LMP party, which has five opposition lawmakers out of 199 in the parliament. In response to critics, the Hungarian government has stated that tree felling will only be permitted in times of emergency, but environmental groups have issued dire warnings about the action’s repercussions. Laszlo Galhidy, a WWF Hungary official, said in a statement, “The loosening of regulations in the government decree is so substantial that it is comparable only to those implemented in the 20th century under even more dire circumstances.” “The Hungarian forest ecosystem has not yet fully recovered” Orban, who has lobbied hard to secure an exemption from EU sanctions on Russian crude oil imports, has prohibited the export of fuels, including firewood, from Hungary. The majority of Hungary’s energy comes from Russia. The Hungarian government asserts that the country can produce 3.5 million cubic metres of firewood annually and that it is necessary to relax regulations due to an increase in demand, which is in part the result of Orban’s decision to reduce utility bill subsidies. According to a report published by online retailer eMAG this month, after utility bill subsidies were tightened, demand for stoves using solid fuels, such as coal and firewood, increased by approximately 12 times compared to July of last year.