19 May 15
NATO Holds Door Open for Montenegro
Parliamentarians from 19 NATO member countries and 17 associate parliaments, meeting in Hungary, pledged support for the expansion process, saying NATO must remain open to new members.
NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly at its spring session in Budapest on Monday approved a declaration recommending member states to “demonstrate commitment” to the open door policy and decide on Montenegro’s membership invitation by the end of 2015.
The declaration also calls on NATO membership aspirants to continue the reform process towards meeting NATO standards, emphasising that “NATO enlargement poses no threat to any nation” but rather enhances the security and stability of the entire Euro-Atlantic region.
Reaffirming its support for NATO enlargement and for the membership aspirations of Bosnia, Georgia, Montenegro and Macedonia, the Parliamentary Assembly urged member states to pledge support to the countries wishing to join the Western alliance, as agreed at last year’s NATO summit in Wales.
“NATO’s door remains open for European countries ready and able to fulfill the requirements of NATO membership,” the declaration reads.
At the session in Budapest, Montenegro was represented by the Speaker of Parliament, Ranko Krivokapic, who thanked the Parliamentary Assembly for its support and for sending a clear message to its members that NATO must remain committed to enlargement.
“The last six months of this historic path for Montenegro should be predominantly dedicated to raising public support and tangible progress in the rule of law,” Krivokapic said, referring to the low level of public support in his country for joining the alliance.
NATO remains controversial in Montenegro, especially among members of the large Serbian community, for its role in bombing Serbia in 1999 in the conflict over Kosovo.
Montenegro revealed its ambitions to become a NATO member just months after the split from Serbia in 2006.
In 2009, Montenegro was granted a Membership Action Plan, a major step in the application process towards NATO membership.
NATO foreign ministers are expected to assess Montenegro’s progress towards membership by the end of this year.
At its summit in Wales last September, NATO agreed to intensify talks with Montenegro but did not offer an actual invitation – much to the disappointment of the country’s leaders.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)