5 October 2013
ESI in Budva – Strategic Planning Seminar organised by Montenegro's MFA
Photo: ESI
Photo: ESI

ESI's Kristof Bender attended the 4th Strategic Planning Seminar organised by Montenegro's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in Budva, Montenegro. Among the around 50 participants were Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi, the Romanian State Secretary Lucian Aurescu as well as Montenegro's political elite from Parliament Speaker Ranko Krivokapic and Prime Minister Djukanovic to Deputy Prime Ministers Igor Lukic and Dusko Markovic to Defence Minister Milica Pejanovic-Djurisic. Kristof chaired a panel on regional challenges.

This year's seminar focused on NATO and Montenegro's prospects for NATO accession. As the event followed Chatham House rules, we can provide you here only with some general impressions.

Representatives of many NATO members supported Montenegro's quest for an invitation to be extended to Montenegro at the next NATO summit in 2014. If this is indeed going to happen, however, is still very unclear. 

First there is the question of Montenegro's preparedness. While many NATO members praised Montenegro's efforts, a few critical ones insisted that there remain a number of issues to be addressed, including in the area of the rule of law.

Even more important appear considerations that are not linked to Montenegro. A number of the larger member states are reluctant to label the upcoming summit in London an "enlargement summit". Some think that with issues such as the withdrawal from Afghanistan and current challenges in the Middle East the agenda will already be packed. Others are concerned that the label "enlargement summit" would automatically bring up Georgia and its membership prospects – an issue few want to address now. In addition, many point to lacking commitment for further enlargement by the United States.

Overall, views presented contrasted strongly, but few object that the issue of Montenegro's invitation is still open. Ahead lies one more year before the summit – one more year for Montenegro to make progress; one more year for the NATO member states to convince each other.

Seminar agenda

About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com