19. June 2014
PRESS RELEASE - issued by the joint mission of Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute, arrived in Romania for a mission dedicated to Roşia Montană, listed as one of ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ heritage sites in Europe in 2013, upon nomination made by Pro-Patrimonio Foundation.
"Roşia Montană should become a model of sustainable development in Europe"
Bucharest, 19 June 2014 - The joint mission of the leading European heritage organisation Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute (EIBI) to Cluj, Roşia Montană and Bucharest, on 16-19 June has concluded that a new and potentially more constructive period in the approach to the issue of Roşia Montană has now opened, as a result of the recent vote by both chambers of the Romanian Parliament.
Guy Clausse, Dean of the EIBI, commented on this development: "As the likelihood - and threat - of opencast mining activities in Roşia Montană are rapidly diminishing, the need to formulate an alternative, more diversified and sustainable development strategy for the region becomes essential. The crucial components for such a development strategy must come from within the local community, but Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute can and will support them in this effort."
Europa Nostra and the EIBI have been collaborating since 2013 on the new pan-European programme ‘The 7 Most Endangered’, with the aim of selecting monuments and sites which are uniquely important to Europe but are either neglected or at serious risk of destruction. Both the unique importance of its heritage and the serious risk of its destruction are evident in the case of Roşia Montană, which was selected in 2013 as one of The 7 Most Endangered sites in Europe, upon nomination made by the Romanian heritage organisation Pro-Patrimonio. It is the view of Europa Nostra that the Roman mining galleries form an unique and irreplaceable part of our common European heritage which must be preserved.
This unique Roman mining heritage and the outstanding mining landscape and architecture of Roşia Montană have been under serious threat by the proposed opencast mining activity. Now however, as a result of the remarkable determination displayed by tens of thousands of Romanian citizens and indeed citizens of many other countries both in Europe and elsewhere, and as a result of the recent vote by the two chambers of the Romanian Parliament, the time has come to investigate and propose a social, economic and environmental development plan based on the promotion and valorisation of Roşia Montană's unique assets.
The joint mission of Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute was composed of John Sell, Europa Nostra’s Executive Vice-President; Costa Carras, Europa Nostra's longest standing Vice-President; Guy Clausse, Dean of the EIBI; Ştefan Bâlici, Europa Nostra’s Council Member and Vice-President of ARA - Architecture, Restoration, Archaeology; and Maria Berza, member of the Advisory Panel of ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme. In Cluj, the mission held a series of important meetings with members of the academic community and civil society, at the Centre for Regional Geography of the Babeş-Bolyai University, and also with the President of the Romanian Chamber of Architects. The mission also spoke with many members of the wider local community, including people active in business, at a meeting hosted by the local NGO Alburnus Maior in the cultural centre at Roşia Montană itself. These meetings were very productive. In addition, there was a meeting in Cluj with five representatives of Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), at their request.
In Bucharest, members of the mission have held meetings at the offices of the European Commission Representation in Romania, at the Ministry of European Funds, at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, at the Ministry for Culture and National Heritage, with the Romanian Academy and with the Romanian Union of Architects together with ICOMOS Romania.
"During our meetings, and particularly at the enthusiastic meeting in Roşia Montană itself, it has become evident that the seeds for a proposal for the sustainable development of the area, including heritage conservation, promotion of local crafts and different forms of agricultural, tourism and industrial activities already exist," stated Costa Carras. "A great deal more needs to be done but there is a clear determination at the local and regional levels to achieve solutions based on sustainable development and respect for the cultural heritage, simultaneously fostering a true sense of community and making Romania an example to be followed throughout Europe. This would be fully in line with the Conclusions of the Council of the European Union (Education, Youth, Culture and Sport) adopted unanimously on 21 May 2014 in Brussels and stating that cultural heritage is a strategic resource for a sustainable Europe," added the Vice-President of Europa Nostra.
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‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme was launched in January 2013 by Europa Nostra with the European Investment Bank Institute as founding partner and the Council of Europe Development Bank as associated partner. With this new advocacy programme, the organisation aims not only to identify the most threatened monuments and sites in Europe but also to launch a true call for action. By sending multidisciplinary teams of experts to visit the selected sites, together with its partners, Europa Nostra seeks to contribute to finding sustainable and viable solutions for the future.
Europa Nostra is the European federation of heritage organisations. Covering 50 countries in Europe and beyond, the organisation is the voice of civil society committed to the safeguard and promotion of Europe’s cultural and natural heritage. Founded in 1963 in Paris, Europa Nostra has its headquarters in The Hague and an office in Brussels. Its pan-European network comprises: 250 heritage NGOs with a total membership of several million people; 150 public bodies or private companies; and 1500 individual members. Europa Nostra campaigns to save Europe's endangered monuments, sites and landscapes; it celebrates excellence through its Awards Scheme run in partnership with the European Commission; and it seeks to influence European and national policies related to heritage. Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned opera singer, is the President of Europa Nostra.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
The European Investment Bank Institute (EIBI) promotes European initiatives for the common good. It was created as part of the European Investment Bank Group in January 2012 with the aim of acting as a catalyst for social, cultural, educational and research activities that are directed towards economic and social development in Europe. Detailed information on the activities of the EIB Institute can be obtained from its website.