Wednesday May 24, 2017
Montenegro is to be officially admitted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on June 5. The Montenegrin parliament has approved becoming NATO 29th member country amid a certain degree of popular rejection shared by most of the political opposition, who demanded a public referendum in order to ratify its membership of the military alliance.
The organization has grown from twelve founding members in 1949 to 28 today. The most recent new members, Albania and Croatia, joined in 2009.
There are three officially recognized aspiring members: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Macedonia. Extending membership is currently a topic of debate, including Sweden, Finland. Ukraine and is less likely to join but the membership is not excluded, it’s on the agenda.
The alliance appears to be constantly expanding with new aspiring nations knocking at the door. This fact is often adduced to demonstrate success. With Montenegro to join soon, the bloc’s expansion grabs media headlines. At the same time, little is said about the emerging trend in the opposite direction.
Over 150,000 people have already signed the petition to kick off a referendum on Slovakia’s withdrawal from NATO. The initiative has been launched by the opposition anti-NATO, anti-EU Kotleba – People's Party Our Slovakia. The petition needs 350 thousand signatures to start the process.
The country joined the bloc in 2004. No referendum was held. The recent surveys have shown negative attitude to the idea of membership. According to a Globsec agency’s poll conducted in 2016, 47 percent of Slovaks answered that neutrality would be better than membership in the alliance. "As many as 59 percent of Slovaks see the role of the USA in Europe and in the world in a negative light." the SITA newswire quoted the poll.