Đukanović: NATO and EU must not allow Balkans to be Europe’s “soft underbelly”

Milo Đukanović; Photo: European Union

cdm logoPODGORICA – Montenegrin NATO membership is a good reminder to other countries in the region to respond prudently and adequately to the messages coming from the EU and NATO, DPS leader Milo Đukanović said in an interview with the Austrian national television ORF. He said that the door was open towards the two organisations and that they should be entered by carrying out reforms, CdM reports.

Đukanović said that membership in the alliance meant that there was yet another place in the world today where European heritage and culture was promoted.

Đukanović commented on the relations on the global political stage, within the European Union, with a focus on the region and the creation of conditions for the Western Balkans to ensure lasting stability and catch up with the developed European countries.

He also said that NATO and the EU should help the pro-European governments in the region.

“Those governments face difficulties – I can tell that as someone who used to lead such a government for more than 20 years. If you want to get an alibi why Montenegro or any other Western Balkans society should not be a part of the EU, you can always obtain one and say: a substantial part of the public is still against it. I think it is not the role of a government. I believe the role of a government is not to follow the public opinion, but to create it and change unfavourable historical legacy. Montenegro has followed that direction,” Đukanović said.

Đukanović said that infrastructure projects were of great importance for the integration of the region into the EU.

“I dare to say that Europe has done all but nothing so far in terms of this matter. It is necessary to make a corridor that will connect the EU with the Western Balkans. First of all, I think it should be the Adriatic-Ionian corridor. Also, it is necessary to make strong energy connections. When you create those two preconditions, then you have physically integrated the Western Balkans in Europe. Everything without that is just an empty talk,” said Đukanović .

If Europe does not decide to continue such assistance to the Western Balkans following the idea of ​​the Berlin process, then, as DPS leader said, there will be more room for forces of political destruction in the future, the ones we currently see in the region coming from Moscow.

“We will be responsible for the empty space left in the Balkans to still hold the region in a historic delusion and away from the European system of values… and consequently for the Balkans to be a “soft underbelly” of Europe. Therefore, Europe will be forced to deal every now and then with solving conflicts in the Balkans, instead of its own development,” Đukanović said.