This is a historic day for Montenegro – what was not achieved at the summit in Wales last year, happened today - NATO members recognized its significant progress and invited Montenegro to be at the table where strategic discussions are led and decisions made, especially at a time when the security situation in Europe, and in the world, is deteriorating.
Montenegro has officially received an invitation for full NATO membership. This decision was made this morning, at a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and unanimously adopted by foreign ministers of 28 member countries of the Alliance.
"A historic decision of Ministers. A great day for Montenegro, NATO and the region. This confirms our open door policy. NATO is inviting Montenegro into the alliance. We congratulate the Government and the people on this achievement", said Stoltenberg and went on to officially announce that Montenegro was invited to join NATO to Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs, Igor Luksic, and of European Integration and Defence, Milica Pejanovic Djurisic. Luksic said he is confident NATO made the right decision by inviting Montenegro into the Alliance.
"Montenegro is opening a new chapter today. I think we deserved the call. This is great news for other Balkan countries. We will continue to reform with the same intensity..", said Montenegrin Foreign Minister.
NATO's invitation confirms Montenegro is a democratic, stable, secure, well-developed country which shares the same values as the most advanced countries in the world, and that it has just the right legal environment.
By entering NATO, Montenegro becomes a safer, healthier market for foreign investment. NATO membership also strengthens the political influence of Montenegro, because it allows raising awareness and provides the possibility of consulting with other allies on sensitive issues.
However, obtaining the invitation does not mean Montenegro is a full member just yet. Accession negotiations with the Alliance are the first step towards full membership.
As mandated by the procedures of NATO, after today's positive decision of Ministers, formal invitation should by the ned of the week be sent by Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, to Montenegrin foreign minister, Igor Luksic.
Luksic is then to reply in a letter, stating that our country accepts the obligations of membership. Then, all NATO countries sign a protocol on accession to the Alliance, which then must be ratified by the governments of member states of the Alliance.
The final step towards membership is forwarding of the Accession Protocol to the United States, or the State Department, where all documents of the Alliance are kept, which finally makes a country a full member of NATO.