May 24. 2024. 6:48

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Slovak MEP says decision to send fighter jets to Ukraine is anti-constitutional


The recent announcement of the government’s decision to provide Ukraine with 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets is not in line with the Constitution, Smer-SD/S&D MEP Katarina Roth Nevedalova said in an interview with EURACTIV.

The legality of the Slovak government’s decision to send fighter jets to Ukraine has been called into question as it lost a no-confidence vote in December 2022 and failed to submit the relevant international treaty to parliament for its consent.

“The problem is we don’t have a government in Slovakia right now. The government, which is advised, has no right to make such decisions, and this decision was not supported generally by the general public. This was not supported by the politicians, and this was not in line with the cooperation of the international organisations which we are the members. So it’s a very problematic decision, and it’s not in line with the legal regulations,” said the MEP.

According to Slovakia’s constitution, a government that loses a no-confidence vote is not allowed to make major foreign policy decisions.

To bypass this, the government donated the jets as a part of an international treaty it had signed with Ukraine. However, the Constitution explicitly commands that for international treaties of a military nature, the National Council must consent- something that did not happen.

Meanwhile, a recent public survey by the Institute of Central Europe conducted in Slovakia indicates that about 18% of Slovaks say they do not know who should win the war.

The reluctance of Slovaks to take sides is long-standing and quite common, with 51% of respondents stating that geopolitically Slovakia is located ‘somewhere between’ the East and the West. Although 62% of respondents perceive Russia as a threat, as many as 37% of Slovaks still consider this country one of Slovakia’s most important strategic partners.

“We are brothers, we are Slavic countries, also with Russians, so it is very problematic for the Slovaks to judge this conflict in any way because we don’t understand how something like this could happen. And we want this to end as soon as possible. I’m not saying who should win the war,” Nevedalova said.

Nevertheless, Slovakia has demonstrated leadership regarding humanitarian support for Ukraine, acknowledged Minister for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk during her visit to the humanitarian centre in Gabčíkovo at the start of 2023.

According to the UN, Slovakia provides asylum for more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and has the largest number of refugees in Europe per citizen. Slovakia has secured an exemption from EU sanctions on Russian oil, allowing it to continue exporting oil products, including diesel, to energy-starved Ukraine. It also sent 300 generators to Ukraine in December.

However, when it comes to weapons, it seems like Slovakia is waiting to receive the replacement from NATO to avoid being left without weapons since the country shares a border with Ukraine and takes its security very seriously.

“This is the place of Slovakia: the humanitarian aid. But we don’t have any weapons to be sent to Ukraine. And we should not try to do that,” said Nevedalova.

Slovak Foreign Minister Rastislav Kačer previously assured Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at a joint press conference on 8 December that Slovakia does not support the idea of negotiations with Russia and does not consider Putin a trustworthy side of negotiations.

The MEP, however, does not stand by a full rejection of negotiations with Russia.

When asked about whether Russia can be considered a trustworthy side of negotiations, particularly while Putin remains president, Roth Nevedalova said:

“In the past, we saw that we can have agreements also with dictators, with the people who are in power at the time. I’m not saying it’s with or without Putin, but it’s not that we can’t see what goes on at the negotiating table with Russia. If you wait until Putin is not there, then we don’t know when the war will be finished,” he added.

(Olha Lyshen | EURACTIV.com)