The EP asks Russia to return the 91.5 tons of gold to Romania

The European Parliament requests the Russian Federation to fully return to Romania the national treasure, seized in Russia during 1916-1917, with the promise that it will be returned to the owner upon request.

Romania sent 91.5 tons of fine gold to Russia in 1916-1917

“Parliament regrets that Russia has not returned in full Romania's national treasure, which is a violation of international norms and customs“, said the EP on Thursday.

In a resolution adopted on Thursday, MEPs point out that, despite several attempts at diplomatic negotiations after the First World War, Romania's national treasure, sent to Russia between 1916 and 1917 for safekeeping, has never been fully returned by Russia. This is an unprecedented international case of illegal appropriation of gold reserves and heritage objects and represents a permanent concern for Romanian society, the MEPs add.

Parliament welcomes the EU's substantial efforts to protect national, cultural and historical heritage through the implementation of legislation and cooperation mechanisms governing the restitution of cultural and heritage goods illegally appropriated from the territories of Union countries, as well as its efforts to combat trafficking with cultural goods.

The deputies ask the European Commission and the European External Action Service to include the restitution of the Romanian national heritage on the bilateral diplomatic agenda that regulates EU-Russia relations, as soon as the regional context allows the resumption of the political dialogue between the parties.

During the First World War, between 1916 and 1917, Romania sent the national treasure to Tsarist Russia to be protected in case of occupation of the national territory. The treasure contained a total of 91.5 tons of fine gold, which were part of the reserve of the National Bank of Romania, royal collections of jewelry and rare coins, as well as assets of priceless cultural and historical importance, such as state archives, documents, manuscripts historical precious, heritage paintings, rare books and collections of many public and private institutions. After the communist regime came to power, Russia seized the treasure and refused to return it, with a large part of the values ​​remaining unreturned to this day.

Over time, Romania has made numerous efforts to recover the treasure, there are many proofs in this regard.

The situation has remained unchanged until today, although during the sessions of the joint Romanian-Russian Commission for studying the problems of bilateral relations, including the issue of the Romanian Treasury, established in 2003, the Russian side accepted that the BNR gold was sent to Moscow and that the documents presented by the Romanian are valid.

“The NBR treasury sent to Moscow, deposited in an allied country, together with all relevant documents, on the basis of an international agreement, recognized and validated by history, represents a singular case in which the monetary gold reserve is entrusted with all official documents and guarantees of deposit according to which it would be returned at any time at the request of the owner, only for the depositor not to comply with these obligations, assumed according to all international norms and customs“, claimed Mugur Isărescu, the Governor of the National Bank of Romania.