Ukrainian Parliament amends the Constitution to reflect Ukraine’s determination to join the EU and NATO

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine sent draft bill Number 9037 to the Constitutional Court on amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine regarding the country’s strategic course to acquire full-fledged membership in the European Union and NATO. 321 People’s Deputies voted for this decision, which was a first step towards amending the Constitution.

According to the proposed amendments, the Verkhovna Rada’s powers will include "the implementation of the strategic course of the state to acquire full-fledged membership for Ukraine in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization." The President of Ukraine will become a guarantor. The Cabinet of Ministers will provide the implementation of the strategic course.

At the same time, the preamble to the constitutional amendments proposes to formalize that the Verkhovna Rada confirms “the European identity of Ukrainian people and irreversibility of the European and North Atlantic course of Ukraine.”

As an exception, there is a rule regarding “the use of existing military bases in the territory of Ukraine for the temporary presence of foreign military groups is possible on a rental basis in accordance with international treaties of Ukraine which were ratified by the Verkhovna Rada.” That rule will be excluded. The Presidential draft law was registered in the Parliament on September 3.

Last year the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law defining Ukraine’s joining NATO as one of the bases of foreign policy. It was supported by 276 People’s deputies although 300 votes are required to amend the Constitution.

The course towards NATO membership is specified in the laws "On fundamentals of domestic and foreign policy" and "on the Fundamentals of National Security of Ukraine." The military doctrine of Ukraine also envisages developing the Armed Forces of Ukraine based on western standards and achieving compatibility with the Armed Forces of the NATO-member countries. 

The Constitution of Ukraine was adopted in 1996 and it has been substantially amended many times. In 2004, because of constitutional reform, amendments were introduced that constrained the President’s power. In 2010, the Constitutional Court abolished this reform and restored the constitution of 1996.

In 2011, amendments extending the term of the powers of the Verkhovna Rada and local councils were introduced to the Constitution. By 2013, amendments were made extending the powers of the Accounting Chamber in control of state budget revenues of the State budget that had been canceled because of the Constitutional reform of 2010.

In early 2014, the Verkhovna Rada voted for a return to the 2004 version of the Constitution of Ukraine. In 2016, amendments were made to the Constitution in justice.

  Ukraine, Constitution of Ukraine, EU, NATO