08 Oct 14
Montenegrins Still in Two Minds Over NATO
About 35 per cent of Montenegrins want to join NATO, 45 per cent are against, and 20 per cent don’t know, a new survey has indicated.
If a referendum was held immediately on whether Montenegrins was to join NATO, the outcome would be uncertain, a survey released on Tuesday suggested.
The survey, conducted last month by the local watchdog CEDEM, sampling the views of 1,025 people, suggested that 20 per cent remained undecided on the issue.
The strongest support for NATO membership is among the country’s ethnic Albanians and Bosniaks – about 76 per cent. Around 40 percent of those who identified as ethnic Montenegrins said they supported NATO membership but only 9.3 per cent of ethnic Serbs did so.
CEDEM’s representative Nenad Koprivica said that about half of all citizens feared that joining NATO might negatively affect Montenegro’s relations with Serbia and Russia.
The government insists that support for NATO member is significantly higher than it was, and is increasing.
Commenting on the survey, Foreign Minister Igor Luksic said that according to the government’s own data, about 46 per cent of the population now support joning the Western military alliance.
On Tuesday, an anti-NATO campaign group, the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro, accused the government of releasing “false information” about public support for NATO because, it said, CEDEM’s research “unequivocally showed that support is continually dropping”.
The government has been pushing to join the alliance ever since Montenegro restored its independence in 2006. It joined the NATO Membership Action Plan in 2009, which is regarded as a final step before joining the alliance.
In a setback in June, however, ministers of NATO countries did not to offer the country membership at the alliance summit in Wales this year, saying they would reconsider Montenegro’s bid in 2015.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)