Anti-imperialists in Slovakia protest proposal for defense agreement with US

Talks on the Agreement on Defence Cooperation between Slovakia and the US concluded earlier this month. The agreement, likely to be approved in January 2022, is being criticized by progressive sections as a move that will compromise the sovereignty of Slovakia

December 24, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Socialist Protest - Slovakia (1)

Anti-imperialist groups in Slovakia protested against the government’s moves towards enhanced defense cooperation with the US. Earlier this month, the Slovakian defense and foreign affairs ministries held talks on the Agreement on Defense Cooperation with the US, which is likely to be approved by January 2022. The Socialisti (Socilaist movement) has claimed that the defense agreement will compromise Slovakia’s sovereignty over its own territory and security and will drag the country into the imperialist machinations of the US. Earlier, the campaign group United for Peace launched a petition calling for prohibition of temporary or permanent deployment of any foreign troops in Slovakia.  As of December 23, the petition had been endorsed by 20,764 people.

According to reports, the agreement is envisaged as a basic regulatory legal framework for Slovakia’s enhanced partnership and cooperation with the US in matters of defense, bilateral relations and cooperation within NATO. Even though talks on the defense deal were ongoing for the last four years, the deal was not concluded due to opposition from far-right nationalists in the previous government. 

All the centrist, far-right constituents, and supporting groups of the incumbent coalition government led by Eduard Heger have now approved the draft of the agreement. On May 9, the president, prime minister and the chairman of the national council signed a joint declaration emphasizing that EU and NATO membership is vital for Slovakia, and called for increasing defense spending along with the preparation of a new security strategy. 

In a statement on December 20, Socialisti said that “with the defense cooperation agreements between the government of the Slovak Republic and the USA, the Slovak Republic would give up most of its sovereignty in the favor of foreign army. Such deprivation of control over its own territory, security and legal order is not permissible even for a minute, therefore not for 10 or more years, as stated in the given proposal.”

Artur Bekmatov from Socialisti said that as a consequence of the defense agreement, US would occupy two military airports in Slovakia. US military presence would be long-term and would see the Slovak government awarding special privileges to US soldiers such as suspending criminal authority against US soldiers present within its territory.

In their petition, United for Peace has demanded the Slovak national council to adopt a constitutional law on prohibition of temporary or permanent deployment of any foreign troops on the territory of the Slovak Republic and to enshrine the right to peace in the constitution. It also calls on the president to ratify the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). 

The Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS) said on its website, “NATO has long been shifting military equipment to the Russian border. The US and UK are the most active in this activity. But it is no secret that Slovak soldiers also demonstrate their commitment and belonging to NATO by their presence in Latvia. It is not even in Slovakia’s interest.”