There have been a number of further developments in the horse meat scandal over the course of the day, including a response from Romania’s PM Victor Ponta. In a press conference with Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin and European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş, the PM said that Romania should not be treated like a convenient scapegoat in the case. He said that Romanian abattoirs met EU standards and that there was no evidence of wrongdoing in the local meat industry.
The PM also promised that he himself and all relevant authorities would carry out an investigation to find out the truth in the case, pledging an open and transparent process that would satisfy the European authorities. The Agriculture Minister already said the two Romanian companies accused by the French firms were checked, even if there was no official European request, but no irregularities were found.
Earlier in France, President Hollande said that he wants sanctions to be imposed over the sale of horse as beef in the country. However, the Romanian authorities have suggested that the abattoirs in the country referred to in the case have all the necessary permits to sell meat in the EU.
Carmolimp, one of two Romanian companies accused by French firms Comigel and Spanghero of selling horse meat as beef, released a statement saying that in 2012, Carmolimp did not export any beef, making incorrect labeling impossible, and that it does not even have any contracts with the two firms. The Romanian firm described the French accusations as “shameful” and said that anyone who confuses horse products for beef must have never processed meat before.
The Romanian PM said that sanctions were not necessary as the horse meat scandal is a case of criminal fraud that needs to be investigated as such. He said the Romanian authorities want to help identify the guilty parties in the case, as it is clearly in the country’s interest to do so. So far, there’s no evidence that Romanian companies were to blame, while the French companies are in the middle of the international scandal.