Bratislava, March 15 (TASR) – Parliament on Tuesday approved NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Slovakia, allowing the presence of up to 2,100 NATO soldiers. Of the 134 MPs present, the motion was supported by 96, while 15 voted against, 22 abstained and one didn’t take part in the vote.
The presence of the NATO eFP unit was backed by all MPs from the coalition caucuses, except for OLaNO MP Milan Kuriak, who voted against, as well as Independent MPs affiliated with the extra-parliamentary Voice-SD party. Meanwhile, Smer-SD MPs abstained from voting, apart from MP Jaroslav Baska, who voted in favour. The LSNS caucus and Independents who’ve left the caucus voted against the motion.
The NATO eFP unit is expected to consist of up to 600 Czech, 200 Dutch, 100 Polish and Slovenian, 400 American and 700 German soldiers.
These numbers are related to the equipment that the soldiers will operate while taking care of the defence of Slovakia. The technology is meant to supplement selected deficiencies in the capabilities of the Slovak Armed Forces. The equipment set to be brought to Slovakia includes the Patriot air defence system, while it’s also possible that the Sentinel radar system will be also deployed.
The NATO eFP mission in Slovakia will be established as of March 15.
Multinational battlegroups under NATO enhanced Forward Presence were created as a deterrent tool in response to the annexation of Crimea in 2014. They are based in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Reacting to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Alliance-member states agreed to establish multinational eFP battlegroups along NATO’s entire eastern flank, including Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia.