DEFENCE

Defence Minister on procurement of corvettes: My intention is clear, to buy what we need

Referring to the procurement of corvettes, Defence Minister Gabriel Beniamin Les stated, on Tuesday, that his and the ministry’s intention is to buy what Romania needs, and for the corvettes to live up to operational requirements.

“It’s still on schedule (the procedure to procure the corvettes – editor’s note). It’s in the auditing stage. It’s a EUR 1.6 billion procurement. My and the Defence Ministry’s intention is extremely clear: to buy what we need for such a hefty sum, [the corvettes] to live up to operational requirements, and to integrate as much as possible into our defence industry,” Gabriel Les stated.

The minister stated that he was invited before the Senate Defence Committee to discuss the Defence Ministry’s upcoming programmes.

“The committee members asked me to take part in a future meeting in which we would discuss the programmes we are considering in the following period. A date hasn’t been set,” Les added.

Referring to the procurement of four multi-operational corvettes for the Romanian Navy, Defence Minister Gabriel Les stated, on Monday evening, that January 12 is the deadline for a decision.

“We are on schedule. By January 12 we can adopt the decision. Both options are possible – we cancel it, or we commit to it (procuring the corvettes – editor’s note). Let’s take the Government decision. It has the right to cancel the specific procedure in the following cases, and the case in which the procurement funds needed are not found is included among them. There is the 2 percent. Each year the ministry receives its budget from the Finance Ministry. Now we have very little left. Money was spent on the Patriot. There is very little money this year. It’s not true (that we are cancelling the tender – editor’s note). It doesn’t mean that if I sign this procedure tomorrow I will have to pay the money tomorrow, and I categorically won’t have to pay EUR 1.3 – 1.6 billion. I have no problem moving against a minister or believing something about a minister. I would like to tell you that in this situation, regardless of how transparent you may be, when you’re talking about EUR 1.6 billion there will always be suspicions,” Gabriel Les stated for B1TV.

At the end of October, the Defence Minister was announcing that the estimated deadline for the completion of the procedure for the procurement of multi-operational corvettes was extended to November 15. Worth EUR 1.6 billion (USD 1.85 billion), the programme consists of the procurement of four corvettes and the upgrading of combat systems installed onboard the Regina Maria and Regele Ferdinand frigates. According to Jane’s, the Romanian MoD has received final offers from Damen (Netherlands), Fincantieri (Italy) and Naval Group (France).

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