Frattini: I want Italy to be the first country to ratify the agreement

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Montenegro has earned its current status, it achieved significant results, and Italy’s position has not changed since the time I was the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Italy has always been one of the supporters of Montenegro’s road to NATO and EU as well. As far as EU goes, it is a political integration, not only economic, and as far as NATO is concerned, there is military and political and safety role.

Today’s role of NATO should be strategic one.

If I think of the Mediterranean, the role of NATO is political, there could be no war in the Mediterranean. One of the reasons Montenegro has value for the Alliance is its strategic geographic and political positions. It is similar to Italy’s position. Montenegro and Italy do not believe that there should be a conflict between West and Russia, but there should be cooperation. If we need to fight Daesh, we need to do it together.

In the important moments, Montenegro can represent a vote that is not extremist, a vote that clearly prefers international dialogue on important safety issues. Russia is irritated, worried. I believe that Montenegro’s instance can explain, and Italy has done this on numerous occasions, that the Alliance is not an instrument to fight against Russia, it is an instrument of collective safety, and if necessary, it must cooperate with Russia.

When I was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Government of my country promoted creation of the council NATO-Russia, inviting both NATO and Russia to work together on mutual issues. Council NATO-Russia was not broken but simply frozen. But on certain matters, such as terrorism, we have joint interests. I believe that joining NATO is a crucial step for Montenegro, because it will enable it to take part in an organization that guarantees global safety.

The arguments I cited speak of the benefits of joining NATO in the geo-political sense. When it comes to safety, it guarantees to Montenegro that it will be a part of the European family that is represented by the strongest world organization, NATO. It is a significant political choice and I want to say that this is not a gift to Montenegro, but a result of doing reforms, because Montenegro has improved its safety situation and it can contribute to the Alliance.

This is the reason NATO has invited Montenegro. We never had a case of presenting NATO membership as a fight, because it is not that, it is a result of great achievements. Montenegro should carry on the road of reforms. They are done not as a favor to Brussels, but they are needs of every citizen of Montenegro, because they create a new modern country, provide economic development, education improvement, guarantees rule of law – system of rules and laws that are a guarantee to all Montenegro’s citizens and its partners. The advice I could give for future is to say to leaders of Montenegro that they have done a lot for this country and that they should carry on with the reforms.

When it comes to recognizing the Montenegrin status in NATO, after the Protocol of joining has been signed, the ratification of the agreement could last only a few months. Based on my experience, the Italian Parliament has always supported Montenegro, and I hope that the Italy will be the first country of the alliance to ratify the agreement.

I also think that the decision on joining NATO should be reached in the Parliament of Montenegro, that was chosen by its people. There are parliamentary elections in the fall in Montenegro. It will also be a moment of referendum, because the Government can say to the citizens, we achieved a NATO invitation. Voters will have to take into consideration that the Prime Minister Đukanović and his cabinet have achieved this historic result. To have another ad hoc referendum on joining NATO would be a repetition, and it would create further confusion on whether or not Montenegro should join NATO.

In the end, as someone who is familiar with matters of safety, I think that the invitation sent to Montenegro for the next meeting of NATO is a good decision. Montenegro will participate in Warsaw Summit of NATO with full right. It will sit at the table with all the rest of us.

Franco Frattini, president of High Administrative Court of Italy and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro