Rosia Montana scandal: Liberals reject accusations

The party says the government artificially “inflated” the matter to create a diversion and cover up their own interests into the mining project.

The National Liberal Party rejected any involvement in a seminar organized in Brussels by their MEP, Adina Valean, over the Rosia Montana gold mining project, and reiterated its opposition to the project. In a press release on Wednesday, the PNL leadership said the scandal surrounding the seminar was “artificially inflated” and underlined that Valean did not voice any support for the mining project either.

The scandal began when Liberal MEP Renate Weber said in a post on her Facebook page that she was not allowed to hold a speech at the Brussels seminar organized by her fellow Liberal Valean. Weber wrote that besides the fact she was not allowed to speak, no Romanian MEP was invited to the “pseudo-debate,” because of their opposition to the Rosia Montana gold mining project. Valean denied the accusations.

In Wednesday’s release, Liberals said they maintain their stance as regards the project and underlined that Valean’s seminar did not involve them in any way. They also underlined that the MEP, who is Liberal leader Crin Antonescu’s wife, did not express any point of view in favour of the project.

The party also said that during their Liberal Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s cabinet, they blocked the project, precisely because they believed it to have a disadvantageous cost-benefit ration for the Romanian state. The mining project, under which Canadian concern Gold Corporation plans to extract tones of gold and silver at Rosia Montana, has come under heavy fire for allegedly being harmful for the environment, given that the mining activity will use cyanide-based substances.

Recently Economy Minister Adriean Videanu said he planned to introduce the project in his governing programme, but his intention faced harsh opposition from several ministers of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, including Environment Minister Laszlo Borbely.

Liberals underlined in their release that Videanu, with PM Emil Boc’s support, is the one who wants to give the green light to the mining project, in spite of the risk it poses to the environment and the archaeological relics in the Rosia Montana area. PNL accused the government of trying to create a diversion to cover up their own interests in the project. “We will immediately respond to any attempt of Emil Boc and Adriean Videanu to promote a controversial project, which is likely to seriously affect Romanians’ interests,” the PNL said.

Videanu, meanwhile, explained that the seminar she organized was about mining in Europe in general, not only about Rosia Montana. She added that beyond any partisanship as regards Rosia Montana, the Romanian authorities must make up their mind about the project. “From my point of view, beyond any emotions, the things are simple and regard the application of the law. This project must get an answer from Romanian authorities. If it is viable, we must take advantage of its benefits and if not, Romania’s answer to the investor must be a professional one and in line with the law,” she said.

Antonescu too said on Antena 3 that as far as he knew, his wife did not favour the project. He explained that he was against it too, but the project still needed to be discussed. Talking about Valean’s seminar, another Liberal MEP, Norica Neculai, welcomed any public debate that would help the public be correctly informed, but underlined that any decisions about Rosia Montana must be made in Romania, not in Brussels.

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