March 4. 2024. 5:07

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Legality of Slovak government sending Ukraine fighter jets questioned


Slovakia’s government, which recently lost a no-confidence vote in December, agreed to send 13 grounded Soviet MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine last week, though many still question whether the move was constitutional.

The Constitution provides that a government that loses a no-confidence vote will not be allowed to make major foreign policy decisions. To bypass this, the government decided to donate the jets as an international treaty, which it may adopt.

“I said that we only do it if we are certain and only in a way consistent with the constitution,” Acting Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) said, explaining that the transfer will be based on international treaty Slovakia already signed with Ukraine. “Slovakia is on the right side of history,” Heger added.

However, “the fact that the government does not intend to submit the relevant international treaty to Parliament for its consent is constitutionally questionable,” said Marek Káčer from the University of Trnava.

“The Constitution explicitly commands that the consent of the National Council of the Slovak Republic is required for the validity of international treaties of a military nature,” he added.

Slovakia’s former prime minister and current opposition leader, Peter Pellegrini, also criticised the acting government’s move. “You did it the way you did it, and now you are responsible for it,” he told Heger, adding that the government should have taken the matter to the Constitutional Court.

Slovakia will receive €200 million from the European Union’s peacekeeping instrument and another €700 million from other allies such as the United States as compensation for new military equipment for handing over MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, Heger said.

Heger did not specify what equipment Slovakia is set to receive but said it would increase the country’s defence capability.

(Michal Hudec | EURACTIV.sk)