Who benefits from NATO – Montenegro alliance?
With the lasting protests against Montenegro integration into NATO it is rather interesting to find out, why the majority if Montenegrin population does not support the idea of the membership in the alliance. And, finally, who is the winner in such a coalition?
The official invitation means that Montenegro has to carry out a number of serious economic and political reforms to meet the demands of NATO. For example, the army is to be reequipped and modernized. Defense spending, according to the alliance’s charter, should be not less than 3 % of GDP (1,7 % in 2014). Montenegro occupies 46-th rank on defense spending in the world.
On one hand, it is good – to have equipped and prepared armed forces that could counter a military threat. But experts suppose that Montenegro itself does not need increase in defense spending. As the economic situation in the country is very complicated. Moreover, Montenegro is likely to have contradictions with NATO member-states – Croatia and Turkey. So, integration into NATO would not affect the settlement.
But joining NATO is likely to make Russia reassess its relations with Montenegro, which could loose about 25 % of direct foreign financing (Russian companies). Besides, there are profits from Russian tourists.
Former citizens of Yugoeslavia have more serious reasons to protest against integration into NATO. The alliance actions resulted in 1999 in total destruction of the country, part of which is Montenegro. And while the people remember of bombing victims it would not be easy to gain their support for Euro-Atlantic integration.
So, who benefits from the integration? Serbian political commentator Irina Stoyichevich supposes the value of the Montenegrin army for NATO is questionable. The Alliance is only interested in the country's sea ports on the Adriatic Sea and in constructing military bases in the region.