At their meeting of 1-2 December in Brussels, Foreign Ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) took an important political decision on enlargement, and asked the Secretary-General to invite Montenegro to begin the accession process, with a view to Montenegro becoming the 29th member of the alliance upon signing and ratification of its protocols of accession.
In taking this decision, NATO Foreign Ministers recognised the progress that Montenegro has made on internal reform, particularly in relation to intelligence and security services, rule of law, fighting corruption and organised crime, and in building public support in Montenegro for its prospective NATO membership.
I congratulate Montenegro on this achievement. The United Kingdom has long supported Montenegro’s partnership with NATO and its membership ambitions, and we and allies will continue to work with the Montenegrin Government through the accession process to ensure that the reforms they have undertaken so far are continued and built upon as Montenegro prepares for membership. NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg will now officially invite Montenegro to open accession talks in the coming weeks. We will bring the protocols of accession before Parliament as part of the formal ratification process once NATO and Montenegro have agreed them.
Montenegro’s invitation is a welcome reaffirmation of NATO’s open-door policy, enshrined in article 10 of the Washington treaty, by which NATO may invite any European state in a position to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to the treaty. The United Kingdom stands strongly behind this principle. Alongside Montenegro, NATO Foreign Ministers also reiterated their support for the membership ambitions of Georgia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In a statement issued at the end of the meeting, NATO Foreign Ministers reconfirmed their commitment to working closely with Georgia, including implementing in full the substantial package of support agreed at last year’s Wales summit. The statement also noted that progress had been made in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2015, and encouraged a redoubling of efforts to allow the conditions to be met to activate a membership action plan at the soonest possible opportunity. On Macedonia, NATO Foreign Ministers confirmed that they stood by the conditional invitation that Macedonia received in 2008, but expressed concerns at the political developments that have taken place during 2015, encouraging Macedonia to intensify efforts at political compromise and reform and to fully implement the July agreement brokered by the European Commission.
The statement by NATO Foreign Ministers on “open door” is available on the NATO website, at: