*Dragnea and DefMin talk about resumption of procedure
Premier Sorin Grindeanu announced on Monday that the Government will abrogate, on Thursday, the Ciolos Government’s decision to purchase four multi-mission corvettes for the naval forces, corvettes that were to be built in Galati, claiming that the procedural steps were not observed.
“We will abrogate [it] at the Government meeting on Thursday. I hope things will go as I requested in the latest meeting, and on Thursday we will abrogate that Government decision adopted at the end of last year, in order to enter a normal course. A memorandum should be voted or not in Parliament and then we should discuss what they did or what we want to do. These are the legal steps that the Government must take,” Sorin Grindeanu stated.
He added that he cannot “speculate” on the continuation of negotiations with the Damen Shipyard in Galati.
“For the time being we are abrogating and we’re not discussing contracts, negotiations and so forth. All things concerning defence must be and are part of what represents Romania’s strategy in this domain. There are things that are being put in line with our NATO partners. It’s not a very simple domain, it’s a special one, and all things must be done this way. These priorities are discussed as transparently as possible, but by observing the law. That is precisely why I insist on us taking a normal course, namely abrogating this government decision, going to Parliament, getting an approval or not and then discussing the next steps,” the Premier added.
Sorin Grindeanu refused to say whether the reason he intends to abrogate the decision approved by the Ciolos Government has to do solely with the procedure or whether the document also has some irregularities.
“Procedurally, it didn’t observe the law,” Grindeanu pointed out.
MoD starts procedures to repeal decision on corvette procurement
The Ministry of Defence has started legal procedures for the approval of a government decision repealing a decision approving procedures for the procurement of corvettes, the MoD said Monday in a press statement.
The statement says the reason behind repealing government decision HG 906/2016 is failure to meet the suspensive requirement expressly mentioned in Article 2 of the said decision.
“Repealing this piece of legislation is at the same time a necessary stage in the initiation of a new procurement procedure that complies with all the relevant legal provisions and that wins the prior approval of Romania’s Parliament,” the MoD said.
The ministry added that the strategic procurement programme called “Multi-mission Corvette” is still a major priority with the ministry, justified by Romania’s essential security interests, with the procurement procedure to be started as soon as possible based on options identified by Navy specialists and specialists from the bodies in charge with armament procurement, acting on the Romanian Parliament’s approval.
On March 10, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu announced he was repealing the government decision regarding the procurement of corvettes, arguing that it had been issued illegally.
DefMin Les: Multi-mission corvettes procurement procedure to resume in three weeks at most
Defence Minister Gabriel Les confirmed, on Monday, that the institution he leads has initiated the procedure to abrogate the government decision on the procurement of multi-mission corvettes, pointing out that the document did not have Parliament’s initial approval. The minister said the procedure will be resumed.
“We’re talking about a government decision that the National Defence Ministry will abrogate, via the Government, considering it fails to observe the legal regulations of law no.11, namely the prior approval of Parliament for all procurements that surpass 100 million euros.
“The strategic programme for the procurement of multi-mission corvettes remains a priority for the National Defence Ministry. This is why we want to repeal [the Gov’t resolution] so we can start the procedure again as soon as possible (…) My intention is to go as fast as possible. (…) One, two, three weeks at most, the repeal decision will enter the government as soon as possible, and then the new procedure, of course,” Gabriel Les said at the end of the group meeting of Social Democrat Senators, also attended by Social Democrats’ leader Liviu Dragnea.
Dragnea and Les discuss resumption of procurement procedure
The procedure for the procurement of corvettes must be resumed, because the previous one “did not fulfil legal conditions,” the Lower Chamber Speaker stated on Monday, after a meeting also attended by Defence Minister Gabriel Les.
“The legal procedure is very simple: a Government memorandum is the first step; the second step is an approval from Parliament, based on the elements of that memorandum; the third step is the Government decision which potentially finalises a competitive dialogue, from what I recall. The procedure must be resumed because the previous procedure did not fulfil legal conditions. I don’t think anyone from the Government has the courage to approve such an investment without having Parliament’s approval, approval that cannot come since the procedure has been infringed. Nobody knows the result, it will be a competitive dialogue, at MoD’s disposal, based on the legal procedure that shouldn’t be very lengthy. (…) The Government will resume the legal procedure. They can pass the decision very quickly,” the Lower Chamber Speaker explained.
Dragnea added that the law concerning the defence industry was also discussed.
“We talked about the law on the defence industry. Here the previous Government had to adopt a Government decision concerning the implementation norms. Mr Les was present and I’ve asked him and the Economy Minister to inform the Premier and to speed up the adoption of that law, because it is vital for the Romanian defence industry, especially against the backdrop in which the defence budget is higher this year. Just like other people, I’m waiting for the Defence Minister to initiate. I’ve understood the draft Government decision that must abrogate the previous Government decision and restart the normal procedure has been set in motion,” Lower Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea added.
At the end of February, Liviu Dragnea stated that the Grindeanu Government must abrogate the Ciolos Government’s decision to buy four new corvettes, worth a total of EUR 1.6 billion, corvettes that Dutch company Damen Shipyards Group would have built in Galati.
“In that situation, that government decision could not be adopted without Parliament’s approval. What I believe the Government will do – and must do – is abrogate that Government decision and resume the legal procedure, which eventually means a memorandum within the Government, asking for Parliament’s approval, and then moving on to the Government decision that would have one result or another,” Dragnea stated.
On 29 November 2016, the Ciolos Government adopted the decision approving the circumstances and specific procedure related to the “Multi-mission Corvette” strategic procurement programme.
Through the legislative act adopted, the Government approved the circumstances and the specific procedure related to the “Multi-mission Corvette” strategic procurement programme, which entails the procurement of four SIGMA-class corvettes, Project 10514, from Damen Shipyards Group, through Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding BV, built and equipped at the Damen Galati S.A. Shipyards, and of the initial logistic support. The programme’s estimated value, over the entire seven-year period, stands at EUR 1.6 billion (VAT included), sum that also includes the procurement of ammunition and of the initial logistic support, which includes the training of crews,” the Ciolos Government announced at the time.
“In the “Multi-mission Corvette” concept study drafted within the National Defence Ministry, 13 corvette types were analysed, 4 of which can meet the Romanian Navy’s requirements. Of these types, the SIGMA (Ship Integrated Geometric Modular Design Approach) class corvette presents the highest number of advantages,” reads a Government communique issued on 29 November 2016.