Cantacuzino Institute transferred to MoD, urgency of decision stems from “hybrid warfare threats”

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On Thursday, the Government decided via emergency ordinance to transfer the Cantacuzino Institute – along with its existing assets and personnel – under the authority of the Ministry of Defence, the urgency of the decision stemming from “hybrid warfare threats and the need to create a unitary platform for the research and national production of vaccines,” according to the legislative act’s substantiation note. According to the legislative act, the budget funds allocated to the Cantacuzino Institute will not be included in the 2 percent of GDP annual budget defence budget.

“In 30 days’ time, we will come up with the new organisational chart, the personnel will consist of both civilian and military personnel, and afterward we will draft the documents for the drawing of European grants,” MoD Secretary of State Mircea Dusa said at the start of the Government meeting.

“The urgent character of this legislative act stems from hybrid warfare threats and the need to create a unitary platform for the research and national production of vaccines and to maintain at normal parameters the National Collection of Microbian and Cellular Cultures (CNCMC), the Biosecurity Level 3 Laboratory, the Biobase and Rapid Reaction Unit for microbiological contingencies and bioterrorism. Failure to immediately adopt measures generates major dysfunctionalities with negative effects on the health of the population, as well as grave perturbations during crisis situations, epidemics and pandemics that could affect both the national healthcare system and Romania’s national security,” reads the emergency ordinance’s substantiation note.

According to the legislative act, the budget funds allocated to the Cantacuzino Institute will not be included in the 2 percent of GDP annual defence budget.

The Cantacuzino Institute is financed fully from own revenues supplemented by state subsidies.

“The assets of the ‘Cantacuzino’ National Research Institute are taken over by the Cantacuzino Institute, via handover protocol signed within a period of 90 days since the current ordinance comes into force,” the emergency ordinance reads.

The Government thus plans to revitalise and develop the institute’s activity as national producer of vaccines and other biological products for human use, with a strategic role in ensuring Romania’s independence in the vaccine production domain.

“The prevention of illnesses, the control of transmissible diseases and public health are matters of national security. The forecast on the evolution of the epidemiological situation on Romania’s territory in the following period calls for rendering operational the national capabilities for the production of means of immunoprophylaxis for the safety of the population’s health,” according to the Government.

The salary rights of the Institute’s personnel will remain those in force on the date of the takeover. The salaries will be calculated based on legal provisions on the payment of public sector personnel. The personnel will consist of civilian and military personnel, the civilian personnel also benefitting from salary rights in kind offered to the civilian personnel of the MoD, in line with the legislation in force, the aforementioned source points out.

The maximum number of employees, which will be established by the Government decision on the functioning of the Cantacuzino Institute, will not be included in the number of employees approved for the Ministry of Defence.