NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Montenegro’s substantial reforms on Wednesday (15 April 2015), saying they represented “real progress towards membership in NATO.” After talks with Prime Minister Milo Đjukanović at NATO headquarters, Mr. Stoltenberg called Montenegro “a champion of regional cooperation”, adding “you have repeatedly shown that you share our values.” The Secretary General also thanked Montenegro for its continuing financial and operational support for NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Đjukanović is also participating in a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to discuss Montenegro’s relationship with NATO in light of last September’s decision to open “intensified and focused talks” with Podgorica. Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that Foreign Ministers will assess Montenegro’s progress by the end of this year, with a view to deciding whether to invite the country to join NATO.
Calling today’s meeting an “important step”, the Secretary General noted that it was a chance to show that Montenegro is delivering in areas such as intelligence sector reform, rule of law, and increasing public support for NATO membership.
“Countries which joined the Alliance have been able to reinforce their democracy, boost their security, and make the lives of their citizens safer,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. He underlined that Europe as a whole has become more stable as a result, calling it a “real, historic success”.
“Each country has the sovereign right to choose its own security arrangements”, the Secretary General said, adding, “we are pleased that Montenegro has made the choice to pursue NATO membership.”