Recently concluded NATO Summit, held in Brussels on July 11 and 12 has brought numerous announced changes and political promises, and has partially demonstrated the spirit of community in light of the identified problems. This meeting was held in the atmosphere of transatlantic mistrust and uncertainty about the future of the Alliance, further enhanced by the abrasive statements of US President Donald Trump to the member states.
Leaders of the Allied countries in the end nevertheless agreed to continue to strengthen the defense and the NATO’s system of deterrence, to step up their role in the fight against terrorism and hybrid threats, and most importantly, to begin to equally share the burden of the collective security financing.
Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, while concluding the conference, said that the participants had a “good summit”, has pledged to increase NATO’s combat readiness, their capacity to move quickly across the Atlantic, to modernize the command structure, and to develop teams for cyber and hybrid threats.
“All Allies have heard President Trump’s message loud and clear.
We understand that this American president is very serious about defence spending. And this is having a clear impact – after years of decline, when Allies were cutting billions, now they are adding billions. Before, the trend was down – now, the trend is up” Stoltenberg said.
“Strategic Importance of the Western Balkans”
Declaration of the Brussels Summit, issued by Heads of State participating in the North Atlantic Council meeting, Western Balkans region is estimated to be “of strategic importance, as demonstrated by the long history of cooperation and operations (conducted) in the region”.
“We remain fully committed to the stability and security of the Western Balkans, as well as to supporting the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of countries in the region. We will continue to work closely with the Western Balkans to maintain and promote regional and international peace and security. Democratic values, rule of law, domestic reforms, and good neighbourly relations are vital for regional cooperation and for the Euro-Atlantic integration process”
In addition, the Declaration announces that NATO’s doors will remain open, and that this is proven by inviting Macedonia to open accession negotiations with the Alliance as soon as the issues of the Constitution and the name are resolved. The “open door” policy, in line with Article 10 of the Washington Treaty, is rated as one of the Alliance’s biggest successes.
“In line with our policy, we have decided to invite the government in Skopje to begin accession talks to join our Alliance. Full implementation of all prescribed internal procedures with respect to the agreement on the solution of the name issue is a condition for a successful conclusion of the accession process”, Declaration states, while comending the willingness of Macedonia and Greece to compromise.
Researcher at the Belgrade Center for Security Policy Marija Ignjatijević says that the start of Macedonia’s negotiations for membership is the most important decision of this year’s Summit and states that in the coming period, before it becomes the 30th member of the Alliance, Skopje is expecting negotiations, final preparations for membership, then the signing of the accession protocol and its ratification in all NATO countries, and, at the very end, ratification in Macedonia.
For Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was emphasized that the Alliance fully supports the aspirations of that country for NATO membership, that it is committed to its territorial integrity and sovereignty of a stable and secure Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been commended for their contribution to the NATO-led operations.
Strengthening of relations between Serbia and NATO welcomed