EASTERN EUROPE IS OBSESSED WITH GOLD
Poland has set off an Eastern European gold rush.
After more than doubling its gold holdings during the past two years and amassing a 228-ton stockpile, the largest in Eastern Europe, Poland’s central bank has repatriated 100 tons of gold that had been stored with the Bank of England in London. “The gold symbolizes the strength of the country,” announced central bank Governor Adam Glapinski.
Other Eastern European nations, headed by nationalistic, autocratic leaders, are also snapping up gold, trying to keep pace. “Gold is all that nationalist leaders in Europe’s east can talk about,” declared Bloomberg News.
Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic ordered his central bank to boost gold holdings, saying, “We see in which direction the crisis in the world is moving.” In October, the Serbian national bank purchased nine tons of gold for $438 million. “Serbia is safer today with 30.4 tons of gold,” said Serbian central bank governor Jorgovanka Tabakovic, citing the government’s total gold ownership. Hungary, led by strongman Viktor Orban, has been a buyer of gold as well, after having repatriated three tons of gold last year.
“Gold a symbol,” Croatian political economist Vuk Vukovic told Bloomberg News. “When states purchase it, people everywhere see it as a sign of economic sovereignty.”
The former premier of Slovakia, Robert Fico, who is trying to regain power, has demanded the country’s central bank also repatriate gold from England, citing the Bank of England’s refusal to return $1.5 billion in gold to Venezuela because international powers refuse to accept the legitimacy of the government of President Nicolas Maduro who has held on to power after a disputed election. “You can hardly trust even the closest allies,” Fico told reporters. “I guarantee that if something happens, we won’t see a single gram of this gold. Let’s do it as quickly as possible,” Fico argued, even though Slovakia and the United Kingdom are close allies. Fico, the leader of Slovakia’s conservative Smer party, was recently charged with racism for comments about the country’s Roma population.
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