Draft law to force BNR to bring back the gold kept in London vaults passes Budget Committee

Aurel Dragan 16/04/2019 | 13:41

The draft law stating that the National Bank of Romania (BNR) must bring back to Romania all the gold reserves it keeps abroad has passed the Budget Commission in the Chamber of Deputies. The law be put up to a vote in the Chamber and if approved, all the gold the BNR keeps in London must be brought home.

The draft law modifies Law 312/2004 regarding the status of the BNR. The Budget Commission amended the draft so none of the gold can remain outside the country. The initial draft, adopted by the Senate on April 1, said that 5 percent of the gold reserve could continue to be kept outside the country, but only if made a profit for the bank.

BNR Governor Mugur Isarescu said that this was the ”international reserve”, not the ”internal reserve” and it is meant to give Romania credibility when it borrows on international markets. But the initiators of the bill claimed that the international situation has changed and keeping the gold outside the country is no longer justified.

BNR has a gold reserve of 103.7 tons, estimated to be worth EUR 3.84 billion. 65 percent of it is kept in London, which means that over 60 tons of gold will have to be brought home.

“The National Bank of Romania cannot support the legislative proposal in question in the form adopted by the Senate and cannot fully accept the proposals for amendments received from Senator Serban Nicolae. First of all, I would like to point out that according to the European legislation, Law 312 on the Statute of the National Bank of Romania requires mandatory consultation of the European Central Bank prior to the adoption of any legislative proposal by the Parliament so that the opinion of this European institution can be taken into account. Secondly I would like to point out that according to the European Central Bank, the central bank’s attribution and management of the official reserves of the Member States involves taking decisions on holding, keeping, arranging, negotiating and daily management, as well as managing long-term international reserves,” explained Adrian Dumitrescu, a BNR expert, during debates at the Chamber of Deputies.

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