Romanian parliamentary committee rejects special bill on gold mining project

By bne IntelliNews November 12, 2013

An ad-hoc parliamentary committee has rejected the special bill drafted by the Romanian government with the aim of speeding up the controversial gold mining project Rosia Montana, HotNews reported.

The committee recommended the MPs to reject the bill and draft a brand new law for such projects in general – and not for a particular project.

If the MPs follow the committee’s recommendations and reject the government bill, which is highly likely, the gold mining project can still be pursued based on standard legislation. The terms under the standard legislation are less favourable for the Romanian state -- meaning lower royalties and a smaller share in the project company.

But given the controversy, the relevant bodies are less likely to issue the necessary permits under standard legislation without political endorsement. More likely, they will delay until the new legislation is drafted -- postponing thus the project indefinitely.

Both key ruling parties PSD and PNL have voted against the special bill drafted by the government. But the senior ruling party - leftist PSD, has expressed a visible discontent with the stance of its junior partner. Centre-right PNL has criticised leftist PSD over the special bill from the moment it was drafted, most likely in order to capitalise on the public criticism to the environmental impact of the gold mining project.

The lack of consensus on this particular piece of legislation has meanwhile widened, generating rising tensions within the ruling coalition. The tensions developed up to the point where they seriously question the single candidacy of PNL president Crin Antonescu in next year’s presidential elections on the joint ticket of the PSD-PNL coalition [USL].

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