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April 18, 2021
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DefMin Tutuianu: Cantacuzino Institute regards national security; it needs 25 million euros per year

The Cantacuzino Institute is of strategic importance, as it regards national security; it needs 25 million euros a year, and it will produce vaccines in about two years’ time, Defence Minister and head of the parliamentary Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Oversight Committee Adrian Tutuianu said Monday.

“We have not taken over yet [the institute]. As regards the Cantacuzino Institute, I was given the task at a government meeting – of course I had a preliminary discussion with the prime minister on this matter – to set up a working group at the MApN [National Defence Ministry] to evaluate the situation at the institute – to conduct due diligence in very specific financial terms, a legal due diligence – we have asked to determine under what conditions we can produce vaccines and carry out other scientific activities at the institute and what the minimum necessary allocation would be. The group is working with representatives of the Ministry of Healthcare and with the management of the Cantacuzino Institute. I have 10 days to submit my draft piece of legislation and an update on the institute,” Tutuianu said at Parliament Palace.

According to the minister, the institute will keep its legal personality, but it will probably be part of a MApN research department.

“I have set a ten-day deadline for them to do this analysis, to propose a draft government emergency ordinance. From a preliminary evaluation, so no definitive figures, we would need about 25 million euros in the first five years of operation. There is a conclusion of my military specialists that we could produce a vaccine in two years’ time. We need money to rehabilitate unsuitable spaces, for production line equipment and to prepare for such production. There are many things that need to be prepared to be able to produce a vaccine in two years (…) 25 million euros each year (…) from the national budget as a subsidy. I had a first informal discussion with the minister of research at the end of the week to see if we can attach certain things to the research component. The 25 million euros will be required in addition to the 2 percent of the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] allocated for defence spending,” said Tutuianu.

Asked if there will be the money, he said, “We will have it; I think it is a matter of national concern, and 25 million euros per year is not an amount that cannot be provided by a responsible government, because the Cantacuzino Institute is of strategic importance, it even regards national security. When you have no means of protecting your population, it is obviously not a trivial matter, but it regards national security.”

The minister argued that the Cantacuzino Institute should be switched under the authority of the Ministry of Defense. “He has switched several ministerial authorities; nobody has managed to implement it, to make it operational. There were certain disorder and conflicts there that could not be settled in any way, and then Mr Prime Minister told me that the MApN, as a structure with better defined rules, can ensure the revitalisation of this institute. And, of course, there is also the personal component, because I am a firmer hand and I will be able to establish what has to be established. I can assure you that I will do my job, and if the governance is the way I want, the institute will produce vaccines in two years’ time,” said Tutuianu.

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