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Heger ready to host NATO soldiers in Slovakia

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Slovakia – Going against Hungary’s position – whose defence minister, Tibor Benkő, said on Sunday, 30 January, that  additional NATO troops will not be hosted on Hungarian territory as there is no need for them in the current situation –, and despite his own public’s reluctance concerning such a prospect, Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OL’aNO) stated his willingness to authorise the stationing of additional NATO troops in Slovakia. There has been talk of a possible deployment of a battalion of 1,000 soldiers.

Being in NATO is the most effective way to defend Slovakia’s sovereignty

The Slovak PM signed an op-ed in Denník N on Monday in which he sided with his foreign minister, Ivan Korčok (SaS), who was the only minister in his government to support such a possibility from the outset:

I am clear on that. Slovakia is a member of the collective security system called NATO because we have concluded in the past that this is the most effective way of defending our democratic sovereignty, territorial integrity, and freedoms.

If, in the interests of Slovakia and Europe’s security, it is therefore necessary to strengthen military capabilities on our eastern border, we will of course do so. Because in NATO, it is one for all, and all for one. That is the guarantee of peace in Europe.

 And it will also be in line with our security and defence strategy. After all, that’s what [treaties] are for, so that we can adopt the proper attitudes in the face of international threats and respond appropriately.

According to Heger, the Slovak opposition is mired “in corruption and extremism”

In this regard, Eduard Heger harshly criticised the opposition’s approach:

Today’s parliamentary opposition wants to pull Slovakia out of the European Union and NATO because it is afraid of the values that these countries profess: citizens’ equality before the law, human rights, and freedom.

The opposition parties, mired in corruption and extremism, are therefore uncomfortable being in the European Union and NATO.

Slovak public opinion is quite divided on this issue, which is directly linked to the current Russian-Ukrainian crisis. According to a recent poll by the Focus Institute, a relative majority (44%) of Slovaks hold NATO responsible for the situation, while 34% believe Russia is the main culprit.