Analysis of presidential changes to the Constitution

The text of changes to the Constitution regarding the strategic external course of the state (EU and NATO) has been made public.

By reading the explanatory note alone one can get the general message – from the legal point of view, the document makes practically no sense.

First of all, the Constitution already has the necessary instruments for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, but it lacks legal specification. For some reason, nobody is in a hurry to do something in this direction.

Secondly, the talks about the guarantees of political revenge and a change in the state’s course in the event of a change of power, unfortunately, are weak and in reality, we know that the Guarantor himself has repeatedly ignored the text of the Constitution when introducing laws and attributing to himself the additional powers.

Thirdly, only legislative and practical changes in the sectors of the economy, security and so on can bring us closer to the standards of Europe and NATO.

Fourthly, it is all very dangerous and short-sighted on the part of the President: the failure of voting will have serious reputational consequences on the foreign arena and in the society. In fact, the guarantor has jeopardized the national interest for the sake of his petty interests of political promotion.

Brief legal analysis of the presidential changes to the Constitution:

– about the changes to the Preamble: not bad. They look relevant from the strategic and political point of view, but without a systemic state policy, no legal consequences should be expected.

– Concerning the changes in Art. 85 (authority of the Verkhovna Rada): nothing new. “The implementation of the strategic course towards the membership in the EU and NATO” is already provided for by the existing rule on the powers to determine the basics of domestic and foreign policy.

– Concerning the changes in Art. 102 (the status of the President). Reading between the lines: “Only I, Poroshenko, if I become President, can guarantee the inevitability of the European course.” I guess later this quote is planned to be transferred to his electoral posters. On the whole, I see no other legal consequences, because even now the Constitution provides that the President should be the guarantor of implementation of the external course of the state.

– Concerning the changes in Art. 116 (Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), I will not repeat myself; similarly with the changes in Art. 85

– And the most interesting part: changes in section 15. On the use of military bases. In order to “combat the enemy”, it is enough to remove the words “on a rental basis”. However, for further movement in the direction of the North Atlantic Alliance, it would be beneficial to keep the possibility of deploying foreign contingents through the ratification of international treaties.

Olena Sotnyk
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