Garačević said that after May 19th, Montenegro has had a status of observer at all meetings of NATO, including upcoming Warsaw Summit that will be held on July 8th and 9th.
,,It means that we are included in the process of preparing the Summit. Obviously, at this phase, we are not in the process of decision-making, but we are involved and able to give suggestions and so on. Our delegation will be lead by Prime Minister Milo Đukanović, and this will be a first time for him to participate in meetings that involve NATO. Ministry of Defense and our NATO ambassador will also be a part of the delegation. Currently we do not have a minister of foreign affairs, so Prime Minister is performing that function, and it is important that he attends the meetings that involve leadership of other countries”, Garčević said.
He said that the ratification is going faster than anticipated.
,,Bulgaria has recently ratified the Protocol, and we have information that two or three countries will follow in July. August will be a time for rest, and then in September and October we could see a wave of ratification. It is going faster that we have anticipated’’, national coordinator explained, adding that the letter Obama sent to the Senate started the process of ratification in USA.
,,That act will make the process go even faster, because I think all the countries will want to do it as soon as possible”, he said.
The dynamic of ratification means that Montenegro is keeping its pace in the area of reforms.
,,It is important that our neighbours are swift to ratify, the support here is important”, he said.
Speaking of whether the Montenegrin ratification should happen in the Parliament or on the referendum, he said that Montenegrin law is clear on the matter.
,,I do not wish to speculate politically about the referendum. The law and international practice are clear. The law does not entail referendum. Referendum is necessary when Montenegro enters a union where its rights of sovereignty are in question, such as European Union’’, he explained and reminded that only two countries decided on NATO membership in referendum – Slovenia and Hungary.
,,Hungary was obliged to do so, and Slovenia had both NATO and EU referendum at the same time”, he said, adding that the Parliament reflect the will of the voters, so there is no need for a referendum.
,,At the upcoming Montenegrin elections in October, NATO will be one of the very important subjects, so the voters will be able to vote for parties based on their position towards the NATO question. Referendum is possible but not necessary’’, national coordinator said.
Public opinion research confirms that the majority of Montenegrin citizens supports NATO membership.
,,There is a stable difference between those who are for and against NATO membership, and it is above margin of error at 7-8%. I would take this information seriously, as it shows political and social security in the state. We speak based on Damar research, as they are contracted by NATO. If 77% of the people think that Montenegro will be a NATO member and they can live with that, it shows that the membership will not inspire turbulences in the Montenegrin society, because it is ready to accept this new state of the matter”, national coordinator said.
This state has came to be due to the process of dialogue that was long and thorough.
,,The conversations on NATO are less of a taboo even in environments where they used to be 7 or 8 years ago. The conversations are less emotional and more democratic, and I see it as one of the greatest achievements of this campaign”, Garčević said.
The similarities in the accession process can be seen in the cases of Latvia and Baltic states, and our neighbours in the region.
,,The support was at the 40% in Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia for a long time. The processes are similar to Montenegrin, and they all ended in a positive manner, same as they will in Montenegro”, national coordinator is certain.
Responding to a question whether it would be a good idea to organize EU and NATO referendum, he said that it could be, possibly, based on Slovenia’s experience.
EU and NATO integration are similar in the case of Montenegro, so it can be expected that Montenegro will become a member of EU after it has joined NATO.
Speaking about those who are against NATO integration, Garčević said that Montenegro has the same contract on military positions that Russia made with NATO in 2007, and the same one Serbia signed last year. It is the most similar to the treatment diplomats get in foreign countries.
He explained that NATO bases can be founded in a country only if the country decides so, and that most countries members of NATO do not have NATO military bases on their territory, while some neutral countries such as Cyprus and Malta do.