01 June 2019 - Although the significance that NATO and the EU have to the Western Balkans does not need to be explained in more detail, it is important to emphasise the significance of their shared commitment to this region that is still in discrepancy between the past and the present, Prime Minister Duško Marković said at the opening of the 9th To Be Secure (2BS ) Forum in Budva.
It is important, he stressed, to support the democratic forces, especially considering that integration processes are the core and the main driver of democratic and reform processes.
"It is important to send a clear message from all addresses that there are no alternatives and that NATO and the EU stand together with the states of the Western Balkans on this path. Every absence of clearly demonstrated commitment leaves room for third countries that show interest in this region to use the vulnerabilities of states and the system and endanger their integration path," the Prime Minister said at the Forum.
In the year when NATO marks 70 years of existence, and the 12 member states mark the membership anniversary, the Alliance has a full agenda of facing new and old challenges, with a changed geopolitical situation. The Prime Minister pointed out that special attention, which is very important to us, has been dedicated to the Western Balkans region in the past period.
The Prime Minister also referred to the countries of the region and expressed the belief that North Macedonia will soon become the 30th member of NATO. It is very important, PM Marković added, that Bosnia and Herzegovina was invited to deliver its first Annual National Programme to NATO.
"As the youngest member of the Alliance, Montenegro actively advocates and promotes open door policy. We do this through bilateral support, to Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, as well as within regional initiatives and cooperation mechanisms, such as the US-Adriatic Charter and Adriatic Trilateral. We are ready to continue to help all the neighbours and aspirants with whom we want to share experience and lessons learned from the accession process," PM Marković noted.
Furthermore, he spoke about Montenegro's accession to the EU and said that, aware of the size and the length of the process, Montenegro maintains motivation and commitment to this goal.
"The Government is focused on the reform agenda and the development agenda on a daily basis, not as it is sometimes thought of simply because of membership in the EU, but because of the value of the democratic and free society that we need to ensure progress and prosperity for the state and citizens," the Prime Minister highlighted.
He assessed that the European Commission Report on Montenegro had realistically examined the state of progress and the need for further results. We are happy to note the overall work, in particular of the Government and its authorities, the robust growth of the economy and the results achieved in the fight against organized crime and corruption.
"Recognising the importance of individual progress of each candidate on the basis of our own merits, we advocate for the greatest progress of all countries in the region. We hope that the forthcoming Council will adopt a date for opening accession negotiations for North Macedonia and Albania. Likewise, we hope to continue the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, whose positive outcome will open their way towards the European and Euro-Atlantic family of the developed countries," the Prime Minister of Montenegro pointed out.
Although there is always speculation or analysis of how strong the EU's presence in the region is or its commitment to enlargement policies, we appreciate the many ways in which the Union is present – through investments, donations or support in negotiating, PM Marković noted.
"However, it is important to bear in mind the wider picture and context of the unification of Europe and its permanent stabilization by integrating this part where there is still "unfinished business", and that's why we are convinced that in addition to all the serious issues that the Union is dealing with daily, it will not falter in the most successful EU policy – enlargement policy," Prime Minister Marković said at the 2BS Forum.
The 9th To Be Secure Forum is held under the auspices of the Government of Montenegro and the participants will discuss issues of vital importance for the security of the Euro-Atlantic community, including the Western Balkans, the unity of the Alliance, the influence of third countries, as well as new security challenges.