19 Aug 15
Montenegro MPs to Debate NATO Membership
Ruling parties have submitted a resolution to parliament backing NATO membership, drawing criticism from opposition lawmakers and anti-NATO groups.
The Montenegrin parliament.
Montenegrin MPs are to debate a pro-NATO motion of the ruling coalition at an extraordinary session in September.
The resolution says NATO membership is in the interest not only of the state but of all citizens and is not the exclusive choice of “authorities or any party or [part of] the political or intellectual elite”.
The resolution urges the authorities to intensify their activities to ensure “the quality and the full realization of the integration agenda.
“Full membership in NATO is a strategic goal of Montenegro and it represents a historical chance to provide country, citizens and future generations with a safe and respectable place in the family of developed democratic nations,” the document reads.
Security analyst Alexander Dedovic said that the debate in parliament will test the level of support for membership among Montenegrin lawmakers and show whether two-thirds of MPs support the idea.
“The public debate will finally move from the parks, the streets and from cafes, to the place where all democratic states decide on important issues,” he told BIRN on Wednesday.
Opposition and anti-NATO organizations criticized the announced parliamentary vote on the importance of NATO membership.
Opposition leader Modrag Lekic said discussing a parliamentary declaration about “the progress of Montenegro towards NATO” at a time of the deep economic, political, corruptional and institutional chaos, was a theatrical play put on for the public.
“The intention of the directors of this theatre play is clear – creating new divisions in Montenegro, while trying to change the focus from the difficult condition of the country,” Lekic said.
The Montenegrin authorities are pinning their hopes on formally receiving an invitation to join the alliance by the end of the year.
During several visits to Montenegro this year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that a decision on whether the country is ready to join NATO will be reached by the end of 2015.
A recent poll suggested Montenegrins are almost equally divided between supporters and opponents of NATO integration, with 36.3 per cent saying they were in favour, 37.3 per cent against and 26.1 per cent unsure.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)