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Čaplovič raises questions about Conscientious Objection Treaty

An agreement on religious conscientious objection with the Vatican would violate European Union law, deputy Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič said on June 4 following a government session in Bratislava.

An agreement on religious conscientious objection with the Vatican would violate European Union law, deputy Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič said on June 4 following a government session in Bratislava.

"Did we enter the EU or the Vatican? My attitude remains unchanged," he said at a press conference.

He also said that the cabinet wouldn't broach the issue in the current election term, the TASR newswire wrote.

"The Catholic Church has to realise that there are also smaller churches and it's necessary to work with them as well," he said, alluding to the Evangelical Church's reservations about the agreement.

The treaty between Slovakia and the Vatican, the first document its kind between the two states, was signed on November 24, 2000 and includes four partial treaties. The partial Financial Agreement still remains unsigned, and Čaplovič said separation of church and state could be maintained by introducing an assignation tax in the future.

"The government can lead a dialogue but, for the churches to be independent, the separation of the state and the church is the only option," stated Čaplovič.

An assignation tax would give every person the freedom to allocate a given percentage of their taxes to a church of their choice. Those not professing a belief could assign the money elsewhere. According to Čaplovič, this issue will be debated two years after Slovakia joins the Eurozone (2011).

In 2007, the state assigned more than Sk952 million (€31.4 million) to churches and religious societies. Of 18 registered churches and religious societies in Slovakia, five don't receive contributions. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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