The Environment Ministry’s permit depends on the representatives’ debates.
The Speakers of the Lower Chamber and the Senate will convene the Joint Permanent Bureaus today in order to talk about the setting up of a special commission on the Rosia Montana project. “I talked with President Crin Antonescu, I will convene a Joint Permanent Bureau on Monday, in which I will talk about the setting up of a special commission made up of MPs that would rapidly analyze and present to the Parliamentary groups their opinion on how this draft law (concerning Rosia Montana – editor’s note) should be promoted,” Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea told Mediafax. He said that Parliament should not enter a “political game” the likes of the one he saw during the Boc governments, back when a draft law used to sit in the first Chamber for 60 days after which it was adopted tacitly and was sent to the second Chamber, so that one of the Chambers was shunning responsibility. He offered assurances that all interested factors and ministers will be heard within this special commission, questions for the government will be raised, procedures will be verified.
The Speaker also pointed out that the Rosia Montana project is of national interest and, consequently, it can only be debated by a special commission, just like happened in the case of modifying the Constitution or the case of electoral laws. “The special commission will come up with a report that it will send to the Senate, will debate it within the Plenum, and that report will then move to the Lower Chamber, any amendment being discussed within the special commission,” he explained.
The Environment Ministry’s approval of the project will depend on the Parliamentary debates too, Environment Minister Rovana Plumb stating on Saturday in Oradea that the ministry will take a decision based on the Parliament’s decision at the end of the debates. According to the minister, through the new conditions imposed this project could become “the safest in Europe,” living up to the technologies and standards applied in Italy, Spain, Finland and Sweden, so that the procedures existing there will be applied in Romania too. “I am sure that the point of view concerning this investment will be outlined following the debates in Parliament,” Plumb pointed out, being quoted by Agerpres.
“We negotiated in order to obtain an agreement that (…) would answer all the requirements of the European and also international environmental standards. Basically we took all European environmental standards and we respected all conditions imposed through the European legislation in this domain,” the minister offered assurances. In what concerns the financial guarantees, the minister stated that the environment warranty has risen from USD 76 M to USD 146 M. At the same time, Plumb announced that the limit for the use of cyanide has been lowered by a third. However, asked if she, just like Premier Victor Ponta, will vote against the draft law in Parliament, the Environment Minister stated that she cannot vote “as a physical person” and will express her option after consulting her voters. Social Dialogue Minister Doina Pana stated during a press conference in Bistrita that she will vote in favor of the mining project for the sake of jobs only if she has the certainty that “the environment will be protected.”
On the other hand, PDL President Vasile Blaga announced on Saturday in Mamaia, at the end of PDL’s Permanent National Bureau meeting, that the party he leads will ask Premier Victor Ponta to withdraw from Parliament the draft law that regulates the Rosia Montana mining project, arguing that the draft lacks ten permits. “We want job creation, but not in any conditions. We find ourselves for the first time in the situation of seeing in Parliament a draft law that lacks ten permits. I’ve been a member of several governments, a draft law lacking the necessary permits never went into the preparatory government meeting,” Blaga stated.
A week of consecutive protests
Over 1,000 persons protested in Bucharest again on Saturday, for the seventh consecutive day, against the use of cyanide at the Rosia Montana gold mine. After gathering in Universitatii Square as usual, the protesters marched towards Victoriei Square, however when reaching Romana Square they went to the headquarters of TVR in order to protest against the way the public television station covered the protests. The protesters, who blocked traffic on Dorobantilor Boulevard, protested outside the TVR headquarters until well after midnight. On Friday eleven protesters were taken in for hearings at Precinct 17 after they blocked one of the Palace of Parliament’s access ways, according to Bucharest Police officials.