Rada sends draft constitutional amendments on Ukraine's integration into EU, NATO to Constitutional Court
The Verkhovna Rada has included in the agenda of its session and sent to the Constitutional Court a presidential bill (No. 9037) on the introduction of constitutional amendments to strengthen Ukraine's strategic course for membership in the European Union and NATO.
According to an Interfax-Ukraine reporter, 321 MPs voted for the measure at a parliament meeting on Thursday. All parliamentary factions and deputy groups, except for the Opposition Bloc, supported the decision.
According to the procedure, the bill on amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine may be considered by the Verkhovna Rada only if there is a conclusion of the Constitutional Court regarding the compliance of the initiative with the requirements of Articles 157 and 158 of the main law.
After obtaining conclusions from the Constitutional Court, the parliament may preliminarily approve (adopt at first reading) such a bill by at least 226 votes. After this, at the next regular session, the parliament can vote for it for adoption as a whole. This will require at least 300 votes of parliamentarians. Such a procedure is established by the Constitution of Ukraine.
According to the proposed changes, the powers of the Verkhovna Rada will include "the implementation of the strategic course of the state to gain full membership of Ukraine in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization."
The president of Ukraine will be the guarantor of the implementation of the state's strategic course for membership in the EU and NATO. The Cabinet of Ministers, in turn, will have to ensure the implementation of the strategic course for Ukraine's membership in these organizations.
At the same time, the preamble to the constitutional amendments proposes to affirm that the Verkhovna Rada confirms "the European identity of the Ukrainian people and the irreversibility of the European and Euro-Atlantic course of Ukraine."
In addition, the head of state proposes excluding from the transitional provisions of the constitution the clause that "the use of existing military bases on the territory of Ukraine for the temporary stay of foreign military formations is possible on lease terms, in the manner prescribed by the international treaties of Ukraine ratified by the Verkhovna Rada."
In this context, speaking earlier on Thursday to the parliament with an annual message on the internal and external situation of Ukraine, Poroshenko noted that the bill that he proposed "suggests excluding from the constitution the clause that allows the stationing of the [Russian] Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine."
"After we return Crimea, there will no longer be a Russian base in Sevastopol!" Poroshenko said.
The presidential bill was registered in parliament on Monday, September 3.