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Czech troops may be sent abroad based on simpler rules

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Prague, Nov 8 (CTK) – The government may have the right to send Czech troops abroad, such as to rescue Czech citizens if they are threatened, without the consent of both parliamentary houses, according to an amendment to the constitution submitted by a group of deputies.
If the conditions are less strict, Czech military units may also be deployed within the NATO Response Force (NRF) according to the legislation also submitted by the Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) and Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO).
“The proposed modification enables the state to be ready to better react to emergency situations which may appear quite unexpectedly due to a basic change in the global security environment,” the draft said.
Hamacek and Stropnicky stressed that since the support for the legislation cuts across the Chamber of Deputies, they believed it would be passed smoothly.
The debate on the current wording of the constitution regarding the deployment of troops has been waged for long.
At present, the Czech government can only send troops abroad for 60 days and on a very limited scale.
The constitution speaks about the fulfilment of the commitments arising from international treaties, a joint protection against attack, the participation in peace-keeping operations based on a decision of an international organisation, provided the recipient country consents to this, and about rescue works in elemental disasters or industrial and environmental calamities.
The constitutional amendment is to cancel the three conditions. Like now, the government is supposed to inform the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, while the parliament is to be able to cancel a government decision to this effect.
However, the lawmakers would not have to receive the information immediately, but without a useless delay.
Since the motion was proposed by lawmakers, it will be dealt with by the government now.
Jana Cernochova, a deputy for the opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS), said if the government worked quickly enough, the Chamber of Deputies might debate the amendment in the first reading at its December session.
As this is a change to the constitution, no decision is made without a general debate.
“This is the last opportunity with which to react to the security situation,” Cernochova said.
Given the forthcoming election to the Chamber of Deputies [next year], a similar motion may to only debated again in two and a half years at the earliest, she added.
Cernochova said the modification was not supposed to change the current practice in the participation of the military in missions planned long ahead.
“It is supposed only to enable the state to react rapidly and efficiently to emergency situations with a short warning time,” she added.
Hamacek said it was obvious that the conditions that allow the government to react had to be made more accurate.
Stropnicky said this was a vital affair and that he believed that enough votes in support of the motion would be found irrespective of party politics.

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