Rosia Montana, 4. June 2014 - The bill on measures related gold-silver ore exploitation at Rosia Montana and to stimulate and facilitate the development of mining activities in Romania, also known as the “special law” was rejected today by Romania’s Lower House with 301 votes “for”, 1 vote “against” and 3 “abstentions.“ This marks the final rejection of a bill initiated by the Ponta Government which sent it for debate to Parliament last September 2013. Gabriel’s latest attempt to see its proposal realized has again failed.
Last fall and winter tens of thousands of people in Romania and beyond took the streets on a daily and weekly basis; requesting the Government to withdraw the bill, to dismiss the bill’s four initiators, to introduce a bill to ban the use of cyanide in mining and to unlock the procedure for Rosia Montana to become a UNESCO World Heritage site. Due to citizens visiting their deputies, their careful monitoring of relevant parliamentary activities and peaceful actions, an initial political support for the bill was gradually reduced. Importantly, in November 2013 the special parliamentary committee created to assess the bill recommended its rejection.
Bill Pl -x 520/2013 was a first attempt to change the law so as to favor in an illegitimate manner the company that wants to exploit the Rosia Montana deposit. Several of its provisions would have exempted the company from obtaining necessary permits. These exemptions reflected the many administrative acts cancelled by Romanian courts over the past 15 years. In December 2013, through yet another abusive bill, Romania’s government attempted to modify the country’s Mining Law in favor of the mining industry. Unconstitutional expropriation proceedings, the obligation for authorities to issue permits, exemptions from the applicability of the law on historical monuments, natural monuments and from the European water framework were part of the bill that was again denounced by civil society. This bill was rejected on December 10, 2013 by the Romania’s Lower House. This in return showed that civil society has the power to mobilize and react fast and efficiently.
The strategy of multinational mining corporations to change the law has failed. However, various representatives of the Ponta government regularly remind of a need for a new legal framework to promote mining activities. New bills to amend the mining law have been recently been initiated; this time including murky projects such as the Certej Rovina or Baia Mare. Although today's vote is important for the rule of law and for democracy in Romania, the right of communities to determine their development path is still far from being achieved.
“Rosia Montana is not entirely saved by today’s vote, but our fight is much closer to victory. This is because free men and women with conscience took the streets last autumn and winter. The future of this country belongs to us and we are those who can influence in a democratic and decisive manner how we want Romania to be governed. The Save Rosia Montana campaign will continue to be and we will not give in or get tired until we see all of our demands come true. We want to see a ban on the use of cyanide in mining, we want Rosia Montana to be added to the tentative list of UNESCO sites and we want to be able to implement sustainable development alternatives at Rosia Montana. For Romania’s society this would represent the true victory,” said Eugen David, president of Alburnus Maior.
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