Romania really buckles down to get its treasure back from Russia

In WWI, between 1916 and 1917, Romania sent its national treasure (which included significant quantities of gold, art collections, jewellery, archives) for safekeeping in tsarist Russia in case of the occupation of Romania’s national territory. 

After the communist regime came to power, Russia refused to return the treasure, and it remains in Russia to this day. 

Former President and current MEP Traian Basescu points out that though some of the cultural and religious objects were returned in the Soviet Period, Russia is still keeping over 91.5 tons of Romanian gold, estimated to value around 5 billion euros.

Now this Thursday, during a heated plenary session in the European Parliament, Romanian MEPs unanimously demanded that Russia return Romania’s treasure in full and that the EU executive and other competent European institutions do everything possible to support this effort, reports Agerpres.

The debate, attended by an overwhelming majority of Romanian MEPs, was the first time the issue of Romania’s treasury illegally appropriated by Russia was raised in the European Parliament.

The European Union is ready to support the Romanian authorities in the full recovery of the treasure if they request it, emphasized European Commissioner for Cohesion Reforms Elisa Ferreira. However, she drew attention to the fact that „Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine led to the suspension of cooperation mechanisms” with Moscow – in other words, Romania probably shouldn’t get its hopes up.

MEP Eugen Tomac thanked the MEPs for the support given to the organization of the debate and the adoption of a resolution and especially to former president of Romania, MEP Traian Basescu for coordinating the negotiations on Wednesday „to have a document of historical value in the EP”.

Cristian Terhes, from the group of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), was the first to speak on the issue of the treasury about „compensations and daily interest”.

„The transfer of this treasure was made on the basis of some inventory documents, signed including by the French ambassador in Saint-Petersburg, as a witness,” he recalled, among others.

MEP Dacian Ciolos pointed out that „the debate shows very clearly what historical traumas Romanian citizens have experienced”.

MEP Daniel Buda said that „Romania’s treasury represents an open wound, a painful scar of the past”.

Meanwhile, MEP Maria Grapini pushed back against Elisa Ferreia for stating in her speech the fact that the problem of Romania’s treasury is a bilateral matter with Russia.

EPP MEP Eugen Tomac told AGERPRES last week that the initiative is part of the context in which the European Union adopted last year its strategy on the recovery of cultural goods illicitly trafficked in Europe.

„I participated in the debate (on strategy) as a MEP member of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), and I noticed on that occasion that the situation of our treasure in Moscow is almost completely unknown at the level of European institutions. Then I realised that it is very difficult to come up and present a subject that is of maximum interest to us, Romanians, but is completely unknown to the European public, to the European institutions.”

„In this context, we have taken the decision to propose a series of actions to make known the issue of the treasure of the National Bank of Romania and of our entire treasury located in Moscow. At the moment, we managed to present to all MEPs two complete volumes in English, published by the National Bank of Romania and, moreover, to initiate a resolution (…) to create the necessary mechanisms for Romania’s treasure file, located in Moscow, to become a subject of European interest,” he explained.

Romania has been a key supporter of Ukraine since Russia’s invasion and is now expecting amends for the injustices committed towards Romania herself. 

IN consequence, the European Commission has adopted the resolution supporting the return of Romania’s national treasure illegally appropriated by Russia, reports Seen News.

Tomac: Situaţia Tezaurului României de la Moscova este un subiect complex care necesită un răspuns personalizat la nivel european

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