Speech by Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Đukanović at a reception he hosted on the occasion of extending NATO membership invitation to Montenegro
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Earlier this morning, Ministers of Foreign Affairs of NATO member-States have made a decision to invite Montenegro to join the Alliance. This is a historical day for our country. The most important after the 2006 referendum. Montenegro is entering the exclusive circle of States which are synonymous with the highest values of modern civilisation.
The invitation is a result of serious work on meeting strategic goals of our national policy – full-fledged membership in NATO and EU. This is a crown jewel of the long-standing national efforts and comprehensive reform processes launched in 2006. Exactly nine years ago, Montenegro has embarked on this journey by joining the Partnership for Peace (PfP). Today, we are entitled to feel proud that we have in a relatively short time earned the trust of our partners and received a membership invitation.
We are very pleased that the Alliance has rightly recognised our efforts. We are thankful for NATO member-States’ and NATO administration’s invaluable help and support during all these years. We also owe a special thanks to the members of the Diplomatic Corps in Podgorica. This is our joint success.
First of all, I would like to thank the representatives of political parties, civil society, media, business, and academic communities…, all the stakeholders engaged in the overall social dialogues who are contributing to fruitful discussions on all the aspects of NATO membership. This is a matter of national interest, because the whole of society is entering the Alliance, not just the Government or any political party. Therefore, this is the success of Montenegro as a whole, of every one of our citizens, of all who want to see modern, democratic and prosperous Montenegro as a part of modern European and global trends.
Inviting Montenegro is a big day for the Western Balkans as well. I believe this will be the wind in the sails for reform and integration processes in the neighbourhood. Our country’s membership in NATO will strongly contribute to regional stability and security. All of our neighbours, regardless of their attitude towards NATO, want the Balkans to be more stable and secure. That is the precondition and guarantee for faster economic and democratic development and European perspective of the region. I use this opportunity to thank all of our neighbouring countries for their support in this process.
This is an important event for NATO as well. By inviting our country, the credibility of the Open Door policy has been reaffirmed, as well as the strength and vision of the Alliance. For the first time after six years a country is being invited to join. Invitation to Montenegro will be remembered also as a precedent since this was the first time that the decision was reached at the ministerial level, in between two summits.
We are aware of the remaining part of the journey ahead of us in order to become a full-fledged NATO member-State. But I am convinced that we will pursue that path with the same quality and speed as we did thus far in meeting our hitherto commitments. In that regard, we will encourage all NATO member-States to carry out without hindrance the process of ratification of Montenegro’s membership in the Alliance.
The invitation is not understood here as a token recognition, but as a strong impulse for continuous work on the implementation of reforms. Before and after joining NATO. This objectively means a higher quality of approach to implementing the requirements in the EU accession process. The rule of law and the establishment of democratic and efficient institutions is a corner-stone of and link between the EU and NATO accession processes.
I am convinced that by adopting a responsible approach to reforms in the pre-accession negotiations, in further strengthening the rule of law and raising the level of public support for NATO membership, we will ensure for Montenegro the position of observer at the Alliance’s table at the forthcoming Summit in Warsaw. This would be a symbolic recognition of the progress Montenegro has made in the first decade since regaining its independence.
Even today, when we are celebrating, we think of tomorrow, about the commitments that cannot wait. And this is the formula of all of our successes.
Thank you for your attention.
Source: Government of Montenegro