Alliance, it will speed up the EU integration process and bring prosperity to the country and the Western Balkans in general.
By entering the exclusive club of 29 countries, NATO membership will bring positive economic auditing for Montenegro and, with that, new investments and opportunities for growth.
In these challenging times for the global economy when big investors are reluctant to commit to developing markets, the country whose economy is highly dependent on direct foreign investments will send a clear signal of security and stability by its NATO membership that will attract new vital capital. We can see an example of this positive influence in our neighbourhood, where we can see Albania experiencing great economic development and abundant growth of foreign investments since joining NATO.
Security is increasingly becoming a decisive factor in choosing holiday destinations and, by joining NATO, Montenegro will be adding substantial value to its brand as a tourist destination. Instability in Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean region is opening great opportunities for a significant growth of tourists coming from the Western European countries and looking for new destinations. For the economy in which tourism contributes up to 20% of the country’s GDP, this means opening a significant number of new employment opportunities, empowerment of entrepreneurship and, in general, sustainable economic growth.
Favourable geopolitical position in the Mediterranean basin, boosted by the status of the NATO member state, will enable Montenegro to fully exploit its substantial capacities in the marine and naval industries. Our ports will become more attractive for big players in these industries. It will boost the growth of the local cluster of businesses that will benefit in many ways from the positioning of Montenegro as the regional transportation and cargo hub. And it will add to diversifying the economy, one of the priorities of our sustainable economic prosperity.
NATO membership will be a strong signal to financial markets and will open the possibility to position the country as the regional financial hub as well. Montenegro has for a long time benefited from using euro as its currency and we can add value by implementing MIFID and PSD European regulations for financial transactions. That would open our market to numerous opportunities of the global financial market. That way, we will be in the position to offer new know-how and job opportunities to our talented young people and tackle our region’s omnipresent and burning problem - brain drain.
Economic citizenship can open additional opportunities in this sense. Rapid growth of private wealth, especially in emerging market economies, has increased the number and interest of wealthy individuals in greater global mobility. It is estimated that economic citizenship is a market currently worth up to 3 billion euros. Montenegro as a Mediterranean country, upgraded by the stability and security image that comes with being a NATO member, can become a very attractive destination for citizenship through investments. Granting citizenship to wealthy individualsin return for investments which would create new job opportunities, could become an important source of income for the country’s economic growth.
Stability and strategic government policy are key factors for the economic growth. In just one decade from its independence, with strategic and efficient leadership, Montenegro has managed to position itself as the leader in Euro-Atlantic integrations in the Western Balkans.
The NATO membership confirms, in prestigious way, the success of the orientation of the Montenegrin government towards Euro-Atlantic integrations as an imperative priority for the development of the country.
NATO membership definitely confers not only significant benefits in terms of security but economic benefits as well.
And Montenegro will be in a position to exploit them for a dynamic and sustainable growth that will have a positive impact on the Western Balkans in general as well.
Author is Dr Duško Knežević, president of Atlas Group and president of Mediterranean University.