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29 Mar 2016

Alexandru Mustata, CEE Bankwatch Network

Romania: Villagers protest against state coal company Oltenia Energy Complex over health & eviction concerns resulting from its operations

"A village disappearing: Romanian villagers fight for their homes against a coal giant and their own government"

People in Runcurel, a small village in the south west of Romania, have lived between coal mines for 40 years. But after decades of putting up with noise, dust and a landscape that leaves a lot to be desired, the villagers were informed that they are now in the way of national interest. The lignite mine Jilț North is running out of coal and the mine’s operator, the state-company Oltenia Energy Complex (OEC) needs the land on which peoples’ houses are standing. As negotiations failed because locals demanded fair compensations, the government passed a decision this winter to expropriate them for 1 euro per square meter. The 400 something villagers are now facing an urgent uphill battle against a goliath threatening to evict them from their homes in the next weeks, without receiving enough to start life anew.