Serbia adopts new IPAP with NATO

Government of Serbia building; Photo: WIkimedia Commons

BELGRADE – Yesterday Serbia completed the procedure for adopting the second cycle of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) between the Republic of Serbia and NATO for the period 2019-2021.

“The adoption of the new IPAP is another confirmation of the upward trend in the partnership of the Republic of Serbia with NATO and creates conditions for the continuation of regular and structured dialogue on all issues of mutual interest, and facilitates the coordination of our bilateral cooperation with NATO members and partners,” reads the statement from the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The statement states that similar to the first IPAP, the new document was designed in accordance with the principles of the Partnership for Peace (PfP), namely voluntariness, transparency and flexibility, where Serbia, in line with its own goals and interests, together with NATO, decides priority areas in which it can best enhance partnerships with this organization.

“Also, given that IPAP is the highest mechanism for NATO’s cooperation with partner countries who do not have aspirations for NATO membership, the adopted document has a clearly defined policy of military neutrality of Serbia, the essence of which is the absence of a desire to join NATO or any other military alliance”, the statements read and adds that at the same time there is a willingness to pursue partner cooperation, share responsibility in pursuing shared defined interests and addressing security challenges.

Individual Partnership Action Plan between the Republic of Serbia and NATO for the period 2019-2021 will be published on the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

What is IPAP?

The  Individual Partnership Action Plan is the most intensive form of bilateral NATO cooperation with non-NATO countries who do not have aspirations towards NATO membership.

This cooperation mechanism emerged in 2002 at the NATO Summit in Prague, with the aim of establishing more comprehensive co-operation with partner countries, as well as being as tailored to the needs and interests of each partner as possible.

Thus, IPAP is a means of structuring and adequately organizing NATO’s bilateral cooperation with partner countries in order to carry out reforms in non-member countries. In practice, it is another indication that the Alliance is more than a military-security organization, as is often perceived in public, and that this cooperation with this organization can cover different fields.

In addition to the “core” areas related to defense, security and military issues, there are also some “alternative” areas such as public information, science, environmental and emergency planning, data protection.

Serbia adopted the first IPAP at the end of 2014. The first IPAP was established for two years, but it was extended for another year at the initiative of the Government of Serbia, therefore also including 2017.