The French military scandal at Cincu. Romanian PM vows that accommodation will improve by year-end

French Embassy says no official complaint has been made. How much did it cost to set up the Cincu NATO base?

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The conditions at the military base in Cincu, where the NATO Battle Group is located, will be complete by the end of this year, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă declared on Monday, at the end of the meeting of the National Political Bureau of the PNL.

He said that, until now, some of the soldiers stationed at the Cincu base lived in tents, due to a lack of containers. “There were issues that we discussed and together with the French side, there is a commitment so that the conditions in the Cincu base will be completed by the end of the year. In this way, I am convinced that they will improve, since at the time, from what the Ministry of National Defense presented to me, there was no ability to accommodate them all in containers, and some of them stayed in tents, following that, at the time of which is finalizing the disposition of the containers, to move into the containers”, said PM Ciucă.

After the French soldiers complained about the accommodation and food conditions at Cincu, the Romanian Ministry of National Defense (MApN) explained on Friday that responsibilities regarding camping, feeding the livestock and providing related services, namely water supply, energy, waste management, at the base in Cincu, for the NATO Battle Group, were fully assumed by the French side.

MApN recalled that the Collective Defense Battle Group (CDBG) is operationalized on the territory of Romania by France, as a framework nation, and integrates, on a rotational basis, forces from Belgium and the Netherlands. It was established starting in May, by transforming the allied multinational elements within the NATO Response Force deployed in our country. The main forces of the CDBG are stationed in the National Joint Training Center in Cincu, in a camp built gradually by the CDBG forces starting in May.

French soldiers stationed as part of a NATO mission at the Cincu military base complain of “miserable” conditions there. They told the French investigative site Mediapart about the insufficient number of toilets, unsanitary conditions in some spaces, little food and poor heating in the tents. Their accounts caused a scandal in France, where the deputies of the Rebel France party took up the subject they will discuss in the National Assembly.

The French newspaper Le Monde also published a report from the NATO base at Cincu, which revealed that soldiers live in tents, that the water network is broken, that there are insufficient toilets and that garbage is not collected. “It’s a mess, with rats and dogs, the soldiers say,” the French reporter reported. Furthermore, the base is in an isolated area, and the two bridges that connect to the main roads are in poor condition, so the transport of heavy machinery is not possible.

On the other hand, the French Embassy in Bucharest says that no formal complaint regarding the living conditions at the Cincu base has been made by the French military until this date. The representatives of the diplomatic mission recall that the decision to deploy the French troops was taken very quickly.

How much did it cost to set up the Cincu NATO base?

​​The NATO Military Base in Cincu, Brașov county, was inaugurated on November 3, the event was attended by Angel Tîlvăr, the Minister of Defense from Romania, as well as his French counterpart, Sebastien Lecornu. In the Cincu base, which is the first NATO battle group in Romania, there are approximately 600 French soldiers, as well as 150 Belgian and Dutch soldiers.

The Cincu Military Unit, also known as the “Getica National Combined Training Center” has yet enjoyed important money allocations in the last two years, with numerous public procurements being made, precisely aimed at improving the infrastructure of the military unit, with a view to its transformation into a NATO combat base.

According to information from the public procurement platform, e-licitatie.ro, consulted by Fanatik newspaper, on ​​April 23, 2020, a contract was signed for Pavilions B and C at UM 01495 Cincu, for “facade repairs, interior fittings, PVC carpentry”. It was worth 526,461.03 lei without VAT and had a term of 60 days. The repairs were not carried out because, on October 6, 2022, it was announced that the contract had been modified, the value being 493,764.39 lei, and the new term was set at 160 days.

On October 7, 2020, a contract worth 251,934.23 lei was concluded, for pavilion B18a – interior fittings, electrical, sanitary and thermal installations. On June 22, 2021, five contracts were signed for the Cincu unit: 58,100.69 lei (pavilion X – repairs to the tile cladding, facade and interiors), 592,573.98 lei (partial rehabilitation of the heating network), 194,283, 86 lei (pavilion A – carpentry replacement, sheet metal covering repairs, awning and access steps repairs), 327,248.8 lei (pavilion D – facade repairs, interior fittings and sanitary, electrical and thermal installations) and 123,160.6 lei (pavilion J43 – chimney repairs, interior fittings and electrical installations).

On December 27, 2021, two contracts were signed for the Cincu barracks, within the military unit, one for 2,207,775.23 lei (the construction of a fire protection infrastructure in the 957 Cincu barracks), another for 545,961.28 lei (repairs to modular containers in barracks 957 Cincu). The first contract was amended on October 10, 2022, the price increasing to 2,709,478.22 lei.

On May 11, 2022, according to the public procurement platform, 474,657.15 lei were given for “supply of unsorted broken stone quarry products, crushed, sort 0-63mm-1898.01mc; unsorted broken stone, crushed, sort 40-63-1681,56mc; sorting screen 16-25mm-700,94 mc” for UM01495 Cincu. On July 5, 2022, a contract of 1,186,072.35 lei was approved for “Pavilion M1-M14 – construction, sanitary and electrical installations, foam waterproofing”.

These public procurements from the last two years, which concerned works at the Cincu military base, total 6,957,235.55 lei, i.e. approximately 1.5 million euros.

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