In course of almost two decades NATO has assured security in West Balkans. During this period interaction of the region with NATO has been drifted from peacemaking and crisis regulation to Euro-Atlantic integration.
“We want for this whole region to practice stability and well-being of Euro-Atlantic community of the states, - said the Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen during his speech in Montenegro on June 29th. – We want you to benefit from it. We want you to contribute into it. And we want to help you to become a part of it”.
NATO helped West Balkans to leave behind ethnic conflicts for a more secure and bright future. In a few years after the deployment of its first peacemaking mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina in December 1995 NATO managed to interfere into Kosovo to prevent humanitarian crisis and deploy forces for Kosovo in 1999. In 2011 NATO together with the European Union came to rescue a former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (The former Yugoslavian Republic Macedonia ¹ contributes into NATO’s International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan since 2002, Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2009, and Montenegro since 2010.) , having assisted within termination of domestic conflict, eventually having deployed tactic group to gather weapon from the rebels and assist with the accomplishment of the peaceful treaty.
> Balkan Countries Map
The mission in Kosovo goes on, and by this main focus in the relations with partners in the region drifts to the development of cooperation to promote reforms and Euro-Atlantic integration. Special influence is exerted by the NATO program “Partnership for Peace”, which shall allow the partner-states to participate in political dialogue and assist them to overcome the difficulties of reforms especially in the sector of state defense.
Secretary General underlined that NATO shall keep on supporting the whole region on the way to Euro-Atlantic integration, and that the doors of the Euro-Atlantic Union are open for those, who share the same values of peace, freedom and democracy.
“For NATO the prospects of the region of West Balkans are clear: Euro-Atlantic integration – is the best guarantee of peace, progress and flourishing, - he said. – Political leaders of the whole region should demonstrate courage and determination to create future for their states and for the whole region”.
Member-States and Partner-States
The most important indicant of the progress, achieved in the region, is the entrance of former partners into the North Atlantic Union: Albania (2009), Croatia (2009) and Slovenia (2004).
Three partner-states in West Balkans are the candidates for NATO membership. The former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia shall be suggested to start negotiations on accession after they solve the issue of the country’s name.
Montenegro acceded NATO’s Membership Action Plan in 2009, and Bosnia and Herzegovina that received an invitation to join the NATO’s Membership Action Plan in 2010, are waiting for the solution of the key issue on military real estate.
Despite the fact that Serbia at the moment doesn’t intend to join NATO, it tries to deepen cooperation with the North Atlantic Union and to promote the accomplishment of its goals for the integration into the European Union.
“Non-Consumers of Security” Already
Another indicator of the progress in West Balkans is the fact that the partners, who earlier were “security consumers” now themselves contribute into international security, assisting peacekeeping operations abroad.