PORTUGAL: PARLIAMENT CHANGES LAW ON MILITARY MISSIONS ABROAD

In the aftermath of the disastrous performance of NATO in the Balkans, the Portuguese parliament takes measures to limit its involvement in such missions, without the proper controls. The measures taken reinforce the powers of politicians and bring the military decision-making process more under public scrutiny. In future, Portuguese military missions will be accompanied by parliament, meaning, broadly speaking, that they will be subject to a general consensus of opinion. Political parties are more sensitive to voters than the military. This measure confirms the opinion poll published recently in Pravda.Ru which showed clearly the scepticism of the Portuguese people regarding the NATO Balkans campaign. The Portuguese Communist Party presented an important additional proposal, accepted by parliament, linking the measure to the United Nations Charter, Article VII, which stipulates that such actions must come within a juridical framework. Broadly speaking, the PCP makes it clear that there are international rules and these must be followed by all nations which purport to be upholders of international law.

TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON