Stijepovic: Podgorica has the capacity to be a leader of Montenegro’s Euro-Atlantic path

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Mayor of Podgorica Slavoljub Stijepovic pointed out that Montenegro’s Euro-Atlantic integration was one of the most important issues for the future of the country.

“Therefore I am very pleased because of the fact that this roundtable is attended by the representatives of almost all spheres of society. It is also a proof that Podgorica, as a centre of Montenegro, has the capacity to be a locomotive of the development process, and also a locomotive on the path towards NATO membership”, said Stijepovic at the roundtable held within the framework of NATO Info Day in the city library Radosav Ljumovic in Podgorica.

Stijepovic pointed out that the excellent state policy was recognised by all and that such a work was a reason why for the first time in NATO’s history one country was invited to join the Alliance through the institution of an intensive dialogue.

He also said that all the surveys showed that support for Montenegro’s membership in NATO was continuously growing in the Capital of Podgorica.

The Info Day on NATO integration was organised by the Municipality of Podgorica and the NATO Membership Council’s Communication Team. The programme began at Rimski Trg (the Roman Square) where activists of NGOs Centre for Democratic Transition (CDT) and the Atlantic Alliance, as well as representatives of the Capital of Podgorica, handed out information materials and informed citizens about Euro-Atlantic path of Montenegro in direct dialogue.

The second part of the programme was organized in the Slobodan Skerovic high school, where the final year students talked to the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Gudrun Steinacker and national coordinator for NATO Ambassador Vesko Garcevic.

Steinacker presented her diplomatic experience and the foreign policy priorities of Germany, with special emphasis on the Western Balkans and her diplomatic work in this area. She stressed that the main task of the embassy was to develop the best possible bilateral relations with the host country and pointed out that there was a possibility for strengthening cooperation, particularly in economics, or in the sector of small and medium enterprises, as well as in the field of education and culture.

She announced that a protocol on cooperation between German educational institutions with the youth of the Western Balkans would be signed soon.

National coordinator Garcevic explained further steps and procedures that were ahead of Montenegro on its path to full membership in NATO. He announced that the accession protocol would be signed soon. As he said, after that Montenegro would have an opportunity to attend all the activities taking place within the Alliance.

During the meeting with students, ambassador Steinacker and ambassador Garcevic answered numerous questions related to European and Euro-Atlantic integration processes.

Ambassador Garcevic also talked about the process at the roundtable held at the city library.

“No one now can be surprised by our commitment to become a member of NATO, because it is a clearly defined foreign policy goal in addition to joining the EU and establishing good relations with neighbours. However, the reason why many people can be surprised is the fact we reached a position to receive NATO invitation and made progress in the EU integration process very soon. It is known that the price of Montenegro’s membership in NATO will be €450,000 and it is cheaper than any other option and also the cheapest insurance policy for such a small country as Montenegro”, Garcevic reminded.

President of CDT Milica Kovacevic explained that her NGO had dealt with NATO integration issues since 2008, pointing out that the CDT’s mission to properly inform citizens about all the benefits of Montenegro’s integration into NATO.

Bulgarian Ambassador Mladen Chervenyakov pointed out that membership in NATO was the best guarantee for security in the volatile and complicated Balkans, because the countries in this region had three possible paths.

“The first option is to create a large army that guarantees security, which is certainly impossible for either Bulgaria or Montenegro; the second one is neutrality – but the neutrality has to be defended and guaranteed by someone. In the case of Switzerland, the guarantor is its banking system and the money flowing in this country. Neither Bulgaria nor Montenegro is in such a position. The third and most realistic option is membership in a great alliance and there is no other apart from NATO available to us”, Chervenyakov said.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro