The Slovenia Times

Slovenia Wishes NATO Membership Invitation for Montenegro in 2014



The choice of the agenda for the 2014 summit in the UK was among the topics of the two-day meeting of NATO defence ministers, with Slovenia wishing to also debate the expansion to Montenegro.

It expects a membership invitation, arguing in favour of the principle of each country progressing according to its achievements as opposed to a package approach, Jakič explained.

The question is considered a sensitive one and there is no consensus among the allies so far. Jakič said that Slovenia is among the most vocal proponents of expansion and that this group also includes countries such as Croatia, Bulgaria and Slovakia.

Older member states are said to be more conservative and one of the factors seems to also be the "enlargement fatigue" in the EU, with some older members feeling disappointed by past enlargements although the NATO operates on the basis of different criteria, the minister noted.

He added that even if an invitation is issued next year, Montenegro would not become a member before 2016, which means there is ample time to meet obligations.

Also discussed today was NATO's role in Afghanistan after the planned end of combat operations in 2014, but Slovenia has not yet decided if or in what form it will be involved.

Jakič repeated that along with other members Slovenia is still waiting for an invitation of Afghan authorities and wishes to see a UN-backed mission.

He did not want to speculate on when a decision would be taken, while explaining that the projected costs of Slovenia's participation have been put at between EUR 1m and EUR 1.5m a year. Slovenia would be expected to participate with 10 to 12 members of the army, police or with other means.

The mission is expected to cost around EUR 4.3bn yearly, with NATO planning an 8,000 to 12,000-strong force that would focus on military training.


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