PM: I won’t publish sales contracts for Rafale jets or remove Defence Minister

NEWS 10.12.202118:19 0 komentara
N1/Ivan Hrstić

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Friday that the government would not publish the contracts for the purchase of 12 Rafale fighter jets from France because they are confidential, and rejected President Zoran Milanovic's speculations about the removal of Defence Minister Mario Banozic from office.

“The contracts are confidential, such contracts don’t get published, but we can provide all information that the public has to receive,” Plenkovic said after a government session, asked about the government’s readiness to publish the contracts it had signed for the purchase of fighter jets, which President Zoran Milanovic is calling for.

Asked by reporters whether he was planning to remove Defence Minister Mario Banozic from office, as Milanovic has claimed, Plenkovic briefly answered “No.”

He also responded to the president’s claims that the price of the fighter jets had non-transparently risen by €200 million, explaining what the rise from the initial €999 million referred to.

France’s offer at a price of €999 million was compared with offers from Israel, Sweden and the US, and this was the best offer, but those prices did not include VAT, the prime minister explained.

“VAT amounts to €110,642,467, and MORH will transfer that to the Ministry of Finance, which is paying for the jets. We are paying this money to ourselves, so it isn’t very relevant, except for bookkeeping,” Plenkovic said.

Price indexation was not included

The offer did not include price indexation for 2020-2026, and the prime minister noted the same would have happened had we chosen the Swedish or US jets, while the estimate amounts to €44,129,000.

He also listed the other costs to be added to the basic offer — €1,219,000 (VAT included) for interoperability with NATO, the cost of infrastructure facilities of €23,271,510 (VAT included) and €3,310,000 for crew training in France.

When the jets arrive in 2024, €67.5 million has been earmarked for their operational costs for 2024, 2025 and 2026, VAT included.

The prime minister recalled that the president, for unknown reasons, had not assigned formal representatives to the commission tasked with the selection process.

He also said it was “convenient” that the president had said that €200 million disappeared in the purchase of Rafale fighter jets on the anniversary of the founding of the Croatian Air force (HRZ) after this government had signed the contracts for the purchase of multi-purpose fighter jets and paid the first instalment of €316 million.

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