Education is the only way for societies to fight disinformation in the long run, a dangerous phenomenon that causes serious damage to all countries – was concluded on the panel dedicated to the fight against disinformation, organized within the jubilee tenth 2BS Forum, held on December 11.

Milan Jovanović, from the Digital Forensic Center, believes that the existence of political will and understanding of key decision-makers about the negative implications of this phenomenon is crucial for the success of the fight against fake news in all societies. No fact-checking organization can deal with such a complex phenomenon on its own. The answer must be multi-sectoral, ie it must include the cooperation of fact-checking organizations, the media, but it must also be on the political agenda, he pointed out.

Recalling that disinformation has existed since the language itself, Jovanovic said that, thanks to technology, it has come to the fore and became an everyday topic. Since the 2016 US elections, which are considered a turning point in the global rise of this phenomenon, the use of technology has enabled states, non-state actors, and politicians to spread disinformation, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, create public opinion, and benefit themselves, he said. He emphasized that technology in its core is not good nor bad, but what we make out of it.

As an example, Jovanovic said that during the last parliamentary elections in Montenegro, the entire country was exposed to an organized campaign and artillery of fake news, primarily from Serbia, to such an extent that the observer could not escape the impression that Montenegro was on the brink of civil war. It was similar when Montenegro was admitted to NATO.

Besides, the current pandemic has also strengthened conspiracy theories and generated many doubts and crooked lines, and the receptivity of these theories to ordinary citizens lies in the fact that they offer easy and uncomplicated answers to complex questions, such as the current pandemic, Jovanovic concluded.

Drawing a parallel between the 2016 U.S. election and this year, Nicholas Yap of the U.S. Atlantic Council said that during this campaign, fake news was much easier to detect and that the proactive approach of fact-checking organizations had a positive result. However, the producers of fake news have themselves changed their tactics, adapted the content, leaving the biggest platforms, and targeting the content to special groups, and they are still successful in that business. He pointed out that now some countries are even making pacts on how to hide hacker attacks or generate fake news, giving them a more authentic look. In that context, he mentioned Russia and Iran. As the only successful way to fight the fake news, he also mentioned education, but also the engagement of the whole society.

Jakub Janda, director of the European Values Think-Tank, pointed to the many similarities between how Russia and China use fake news. They have the same strategic goals in Europe, and that is to squeeze out the United States, to break transatlantic ties, and to achieve their dominant influence in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. Unlike aggressive Russia, which uses some countries as proxies, China has a quieter but persistent and firm approach, it buys political influence by finding politicians who, attracted by certain benefits, will promote its interest and spread the misinformation it wants.

Currently, the goals of the disinformation that China is spreading are to remove the blame from that country for the coronavirus pandemic, then to show China as a savior who helps by sharing equipment, and finally to present the United States as a selfish force that does not want to help. He said that China will punish countries in Europe that try to exclude its technology giants from the tender for setting up a 5G network, that it would punish those who have good relations with Taiwan, and that it would try to divert attention from its human rights violations. What worries him is that, unlike the US, Europe has no answer to that. It seems that Europe is not worried, so there is no reason for either China or Russia to change their behavior, concluded Janda.

The U.S. foreign policy will be different under the administration of the new President-elect Joe Biden from the one lead by Donald Tramp, assessed participants at the panel discussion dedicated to the U.S. foreign policy after the Presidential election, organized within the tenth 2BS Forum.

Ivana Stradner, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, believes that Biden administration’s policy would be different from the one led by President Donald Trump. Contrary to Trump’s isolationism, Biden promises more cooperation starting from rejoining some important organizations and politics that Trump withdrew from, she said. However, she emphasizes that the approach needs to be strategically thought-out.

China is leading four agencies within the United Nations (UN) and some decisions it made within those bodies were very much biased and favorable for China. We cannot allow biased decisions to be made within the UN, Stradner said.

She emphasized that Biden’s approach to Russia would be different. Contrary to Trump who was almost silent on Russia, I have reasons to believe that Biden will act differently, she said.

Stradner believes that Biden would return the United States to the head of the table, which would be a shift compared to Trump who started a trade war. Multilateral pressure will be something that the United States will use in future relationships with China, she added. Different politics is expected in the relations with Iran, with diplomacy playing a key role.

Steven Clemons, editor at large at The Hill – the most read U.S. political platform, said that Donald Trump rejected a great deal of heritage the Unites States were built upon.

Joe Biden is a huge advocate of transatlantic relations, but according to him, it is something that we only see on the surface. Clemons emphasizes that a large majority of Americans wonders why we make ties with Europe, if there are countries such as Poland and Hungary which are autocratic and which lead Europe in a different direction.  He added that the transatlantic relationships that were the product of inertia and that had been developed without a goal for such a long period had become chaotic. Clemons wonders if Biden will be able to devote to the foreign policy given the scope of internal challenges and divisions that the Unites States are facing. After Trump, all the relations should be redefined, and Clemons thinks that Biden will do everything to rebuild ties with many countries and to reduce the tensions.

Stefan Fröhlich, chairman at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said that things we would see under Biden’s rule would be different from what Trump was doing. Especially, there would be no isolationism and insulting of his partners in Europe. However, those who think that we would develop the transatlantic relationship similar to that from the period of Obama are wrong. Times are different, as well as the international surroundings, added Fröhlich. He agreed with Clemons that Biden would find domestic agenda more relevant that the foreign one. Biden will have a different approach towards the foreign policy. Fröhlich added that he would reject Trump’s contempt for the cooperation with European partners, as that was the way to suppress Russian and Chinese expansion, as well as that he would rely more on diplomacy than on military. 

Ambassador Philip Reeker, U.S. State Department Official from the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, stated that the USA were committed to the full integration of the Western Balkans in the EU.

There is no better time than this to reaffirm this commitment, said Reeker who was one of the main speakers at the 2BS Forum and added that the Western Balkan countries were on the right path to accomplish that.

We have the reasons to be optimistic. We see how far Northern Macedonia has come, we recognize dedication to integration when it comes to people in this region and our collective interest is to strengthen these aspirations, Reeker said.

Our vision, the US vision is a stable region, peaceful and integrated in the EU, Reeker said, emphasizing that the strong Balkans implies more stable Europe.

The most important thing that I see is that the Western Balkan countries articulated these aspirations, they brought decisions themselves and we are just helping them to achieve it. We believe that the countries themselves are capable to solve the problems and debatable issues together, Reeker emphasized.

He gave a recognition to many countries in the region, such as Albania and Northern Macedonia, Croatia that presided the EU, showing that they were mature enough to assume the responsibility. As a great sign of encouragement that the things in the region are improving, Reeker mentioned the conciliatory tones which could be heard in Croatia from the Prime Minister Plenkovic and which also contribute to easing the national tensions and reconciliation. He commended the election in Mostar, which were encouraged by the USA and the EU.

The Freedom House report that characterized the situation in Serbia and Montenegro as a hybrid regime caused a certain level of concern, as he said. It is a serious step back in comparison to the situation before.

He expressed gratitude to new Prime Minister of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapic who is ensuring us that the European and Euro-Atlantic future of Montenegro cannot be put into question. Our partner is the people of Montenegro and we have a continuity of good cooperation through a range of administrations.

Ambassador Reeker assessed that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina must continue, that their potential was not exploited yet. He emphasized the efforts of the USA and EU that Bulgaria gave up on blocking the Northern Macedonia in the accession process and that Skopje could not be blocked, especially after the full commitment to the reforms. We are committed to the resolving of bilateral issues, out of the accession process.

Reeker said that newly elected US President Joe Biden perfectly knew the situation in the region, that he visited it, frequently hosted the local leaders and was familiar with the situation in the Western Balkans. I cannot tell what kind of moves the new administration will make, but I know that there is a continuity of all administrations regardless of their political spectrum when it comes to the fact that the Western Balkans needs to have European future.

He illustrated the claim that Europe as well perceived the Balkans as its part with the amount of aid that the EU and NATO directed towards the countries in the region during the Covid-19 pandemic. Not a single country would be able to provide it itself.

Reeker warned to the fact that particular countries such as Russia could accept the Euro-Atlantic future of the region.

Russia does not realize that this is a choice of the citizens, it is not imposed upon them. Unlike Russia, China is striving to buy the loyalty of the citizens, investing in the infrastructural projects, energetic systems and trying this way to open the doors to its influence, Reeker said.

As long as Moscow is opposing to the commitment of the citizens this strongly, the EU needs to make an effort and do all in its power to help democracy in the region be cemented.

Reeker had a message for the Western Balkans citizens that they should start making history instead of being burdened by it.

Our vision remains the same through different administrations, democratic countries of the Balkans, with responsible authorities that serve to its citizens, Reeker concluded.

Sharyl Cross, Distinguished Professor, and Global Policy Scholar at the Kennan Institute Woodrow Wilson, stated at the 2BS Forum that the support to medical staff and all those on the first line of defense was crucial in order to overcome the crisis, which was exactly what the USA had provided. She reflected on the politicizing of the pandemic, as in the case of masks. The reason for this lies in communication problems, which should not happen. Even though this pandemic is not a traditional security threat, just last week it took more lives than on September 11.

Cross also reflected on the global power relations during the pandemic and concluded that the conflict between Russia and the USA was noticeable.

Marcin Kaczmarski, lecturer in Security Studies at the School of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Glasgow, said at the 2BS panel discussion that a small extent to which COVID-19 had changed the geopolitical competition in the world almost represented a paradox. According to him, the status quo is still in force.

During this pandemic, we witnessed the competition between China, Russia, and the USA, Kaczmarskisaid. He added that the powers were competing on who would handle the crisis better. When it comes to China, Kaczmarski said that the attempt to change the narrative on the pandemic in that country was visible. He emphasized that China presented itself as a country that successfully combatted the pandemic.

Mark Schapiro, Foreign Policy Advisor at the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, also took part in this panel. He said that the main goal of the USA during the pandemic was not to let the health crisis turn into a national security threat. He added that the discipline in informing was crucial in the combat against the pandemic.

The pandemic has been one of the fields that the global leaders were competing in, Schapiro said. However, he also emphasized that the competition between the countries did not imply conflict or animosity.

When it comes to the USA as a global leader, the USA is building this position on the basis of the civil-military partnership.

Schapiro also responded to the observation of Professor Kaczmarski on the global players’ competition during the pandemic. He stated that the power competition did not have to turn into confrontation, or, that it did not imply animosity.

Finally, he said that this represented an international problem that the international response was needed for.

Tatyana Shakleina, Professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, said that a better world could not be built upon the aggressive agenda. According to her, in order to make changes to the agenda, the world must focus more on problems such as global warming, environmental pollution, and migration. She added that those were the common problems that may unite us. A better world cannot be built, if we do not make changes to our current agenda, Shakleina said.

Minister of Defense of the Government of Montenegro Olivera Injac stated that the NATO alliance was facing numerous security challenges, but that the most important thing was to preserve unity, solidarity, and coherency.

At the panel entitled #NATO2030: Adapting to the New Security Challenges and New Frontiers, Injac emphasized that in challenging times such as this year, NATO should demonstrate that it was strong enough to adapt to these challenges.

Through history, the Alliance proved that it could adapt to all the challenges. However, right now we should not only adapt but also anticipate the challenges and dangers; we should bear in mind both the things that could be predicted and those that could not, Injac said.

As a special value of the Western military alliance, Injac emphasized both its defense power and the values that the Alliance was cultivating and promoting, and which were improving the society and democracy, giving national politics of the countries the credibility.

Mijo Krešić, Deputy Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that NATO acted as a stabilizing factor in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The current times are challenging and we should respond to them, but due to the lack of consensus in B&H, our efforts to access NATO are very slow, he said, expressing the regret that a high number of B&H citizens was not aware of the benefits that NATO membership provides. If we become a NATO member state, we will generate significant progress in our country, he said.

Andrew Michta, Dean of the College of International and Security Studies at George Marshall Center, warned to the complexity of relations on the global scene. Instead of the Cold War world division on two powers, when China was just a small regional player, today’s power ratio is completely different. While Russia is investing in its nuclear capacities wanting to revive the post-war division, it was not until recently and in a short time that China made an unimaginable step forward, and started its domination on the global scene using the values of liberal democracy, said Michta.

The crucial issue for the NATO Allies is how to respond to a challenge of such scope and it seems to me that the key point is how to rebuild the combat power of the Alliance, he said.

Reminding on the great Chinese investment in the armed forces, especially the navy, and its presence on the Pacific, Michta emphasized Europe’s need to invest in the neglected military power. However, he fiercely opposed the creation of a special EU army, considering that it would only weaken the combat power of the allies since it would lead to defense fragmentation.

NATO is the most valuable thing that the allies have and they need to reach consensus on the way they perceive not only Russia but China as well, Michta said.

He reminded that NATO Alliance provided the longest period of peace and prosperity with its existence, not only as a military power but also by promoting the values it was cultivating, which were leading to the prosperity of a society.

Jamie Shea, Professor of Strategy and Security at the University of Exeter, said that the problem of the military alliance was that it was waiting for the problems to emerge and then responded to them. NATO needs to anticipate the problems in order to respond to them more efficiently.

Our enemies do not want to beat us in combat, they are threatening to our lifestyle, they are present in all fields, undermining our trust in democratic values and exposing us to everyday pressures, especially through numerous pieces of disinformation that they are launching. Sometimes, these pressures are different. Look at what China is doing to Australia, Taiwan, what kind of pressure it is exerting, and in what ways it succeeds in doing so, Shea stated.

He believes that democratic governments need to train their citizens to recognize these threats in order to fight them successfully. All citizens need to unite in the defensive front since it is a threat to our lifestyle, he concluded.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro Đorđe Radulović said that the foreign policy priorities of Montenegro would not be changed.

We remain dedicated to the EU membership, we want to remain credible NATO partner, the August elections will not change anything even though there are such fears, he stated.

I want you to know that there will be no changes in that respect. We remain dedicated to such goals, as well as to the strengthening of the good neighborly relations, said Radulović at the panel entitled Charting a Way Forward in a Post-Pandemic World.

He said that Montenegro would continue to follow the same policy as the EU and that he would do anything to intensify the until recently stalled integration processes.

Radulović emphasized that while protecting its priorities, Montenegro did not want to create enemies elsewhere.

We are not the enemies of Russia, but it should be noted that our priority is common security and defense policy proclaimed by the EU, Radulović concluded.

EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkan regional issues Miroslav Lajčak believes that Western Balkan countries should continue cultivating their orientation towards the EU. I know that the negotiations have been stopped, but we are here, do not be discouraged, he stated.

The example of North Macedonia showed that there were no obstacles to achieve something if there was a will, and I am sure about the positive future of the Western Balkans, Lajčak said, adding that the Balkans have been known for producing more history than it can digest.

Please, one can learn from the past, but one should not allow it to crowd out the present and to blur the vision. Remain oriented towards the EU, he requested.

He emphasized that the EU aid to the Western Balkan countries at the time of the pandemic testified to the Union’s devotion to the region.

Of course, candidate countries must prove themselves; they must show that they are qualified to join the club they want, Lajčak said.

Asked to comment on the new methodology of the accession process to the EU, Andreja Metalko Zgombić, State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia, said that the methodology gave a new impulse in the accession process as counties were to be encouraged to speed up their internal reforms and that the possibility of rewarding those who had been doing their work meticulously could be nothing but encouraging.

She called upon to lower down the nationalistic tensions and expand the political dialogue.

We support Montenegro wholeheartedly, she said.

Visiting Professor at London School of Economics James Ker-Lindzi said that we lived in a world full of challenges. The post-COVID-19 world brings us new challenges. We know how to respond to many of them, but to some of them, we cannot. I thank that it is all about political will, i.e., to know where the challenges are, Ker-Lindzi said.

Observing the conflict in Belgrade-Pristina relations, it was proved that everything arranged previously stops when it comes to implementation. Reminding on different opinions of the EU and the USA when it comes to resolving the issue, he hopes for their attitudes to become similar after the transfer of power in Washington. He added that the EU must be more ambitious if it wanted to resolve the issue.

Ker-Lindzi emphasized that it was especially disappointing when some countries found the obstacle to continue the EU accession path, not in real problems but the irrational, historical ones. 

Is the issue of who Gotse Delchev was more important than the economic or overall progress of the country, he asked alluding to the recent conflict between North Macedonia and Bulgaria. We added that the time had come to remove such issues from the agenda and that people in the Western Balkans thought rationally, he concluded.

President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor expressed his disappointment that the enlargement policy was not the top priority of the European Union.

I really regret that Brussels is currently burdened by other issues – starting from the health crisis, Brexit, and others – therefore, the Western Balkan countries’ membership in the Union is not its priority. 

By participating at the 10th 2BS Forum, a jubilee, Pahor said that Brussels made a wise decision to enhance negotiations with the candidate countries from the region straight away.

Of course, all candidate countries must do their job; there are many tasks to fulfill on the agenda, but Brussels should have a more constructive approach. He stated that what happened to the Republic of North Macedonia was somehow discouraging for the Western Balkan countries.

That country fulfilled everything that it was asked for; they did everything that should have been done and the European Union stalled, he said emphasizing that that was the big mistake that would be difficult to correct. My task is to remind my colleagues that this issue should not be overlooked. He said that it would be good for the European Union to see the WB countries as a block and as such, they should join the EU.

President of the Republic of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski said that he would not dare to project the future of the Western Balkan countries in the next 10 years, but that he would love to witness a positive scenario that might happen.

That positive scenario would imply the negotiations with North Macedonia be resumed straight away, the negotiations with Montenegro and Serbia accelerated, the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue speeded up with the mediation of Brussels, and finally, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s frozen conflict to be resolved, Pendarovski said.

For everything that the candidate countries should do and everything that is needed to be fulfilled, there must be a will of Brussels, he said, warning that it is very discouraging for the citizens to see a country such as North Macedonia that did everything it had been asked for have its negotiations postponed. We have a problem to explain to the citizens what is going on.

He said that besides the fact that the new methodology envisages that the negotiating countries cannot be blocked out due to bilateral disputes, North Macedonia has been blocked not because of some current issue, but some historical heritage.

The Agreement signed among the leaders of the winning coalitions is a conformation that the foreign and political course of the country will not be changed, the President of the Parliament Aleksa Bečić said and emphasized that Montenegro would be a responsible NATO partner committed to fulfilling the obligations from the European agenda. 

At the To Be Secure Forum held in Podgorica, Bečić said that last couple of months and results in the parliamentary elections were historic events for Montenegro.

By signing the Agreement, Bečić stated that the leaders of the winning coalitions confirmed clearly that they did not intend to change the foreign and political path of Montenegro.

That Agreement is a confirmation of the path Montenegro should take. We will be responsible NATO partner and we will continue to fulfill all the obligations from the European agenda. We intend to strengthen the civic character of Montenegro, Bečić said.

He said that Montenegro is a small but extremely important NATO member.

Bečić believes that Montenegro’s participation in peacekeeping missions was very significant and that the largest engagement of the Montenegrin Army was taking part in the mission in Afghanistan.

According to him, Montenegro excels in the promotion of the open door policy.

Reconciliation of the region is a precondition to faster Western Balkan integration in the European Union, and there is no alternative to it, Bečić said.

He assessed that the changes in the Montenegrin government in future would go at an easier pace.

Asked to comment on the mini-Schengen initiative, Bečić said that the initiative would be welcoming if it was about strengthening of the regional and European path of Montenegro and other countries.

But if it is a possible substitution for the accession of the Western Balkan countries in the family of contemporary European people, then it is debatable and it requires analysis from many angles, Bečić said.

He reminded that Montenegro is the leader in the number of opened of negotiating Chapters but, as he said, there had been closing at a slow pace.

The annual report presented to us by our European partners was understood as a friendly message that stagnation is not an option anymore and that we must accelerate the accession process, Bečić highlighted.   

He assess that a comprehensive reform of the electoral legislation and unblocking of the blocked judiciary were two main challenges.

Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazović said that Prime Minister would met next Tuesday with the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, and clearly confirm once again the foreign and political orientation of Montenegro.

He emphasized that the Agreement of the three coalitions’ leaders should be fully adhered to.

We stand bravely and decisively by it. For a short period of time, we succeeded in gaining the significant international support, Abazović said.

He appealed to all that they needed to accept the Western concept in the public discourse and engagement, if they wanted Montenegro to become part of the European world.

We need to change the public discourse if we want to continue further. I think that the discourse was wrong in Montenegro before, Abazović said.

While commenting on the mini-Schengen initiative, he said that he was the proponent of the idea that Montenegro did not need any substitutions.

All that Montenegro wants is the EU membership, Abazović said.

He added that the regional cooperation must remain one of the fundamental principles.

Without regional cooperation, we cannot have domestic stability. I would support any initiative of the regional cooperation a priori, of course while respecting some standards that would not threaten the economy, Abazović said.

While commenting on a document published with Kosovo marked with an asterisk, he said that it a technical mistake.

I am sorry for what happened. We remain committed to the attitude that there are no any changes regarding the issue. I hope that such mistakes would not made again, Abazović said.

He stated that the Government decided to combat the corruption and to initiate stronger fight against organized crime, and that each and every MP must be responsible for what they had been and was doing. 

This is the best way to end the transition in Montenegro. The best option was the Government liberated from politicians and leaders. I cheer for Montenegro to obtain open lists, Abazović concluded.

Montenegro can do well only if follows the European path, President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović assessed, adding that there was no recipe reading that one heated nationalism should be responded by another.

Taking part at the To Be Secure Forum held in Podgorica, he said that Montenegro should heal the divisions and that the divided societies were handicapped from the beginning.

Đukanović believes that the growing potential advocating for the European future is still present both in Montenegro and in the Western Balkans.

The recipe for Montenegro is not to respond to one heated nationalism with another. Montenegro can do well only if continues its European path, Đukanović said.

He thinks that it is time to redefine European platform for Montenegro as the most important one for the state’s politics.

Đukanović said that he was pleased that the new government announced it would continue the same foreign and political path.

According to him, Montenegro is today the leader among other aspirant countries for the European Union integration.

Montenegro must proceed with the economic development and serious reforms in order to increase the tempo of further accession, Đukanović said.

He added that regardless of the change of the government, that remained strategic priorities of Montenegro.

Đukanović assess that NATO is essentially needed to the world and that the tones heard after the U.S. presidential election were encouraging for all citizens in Europe and in the Balkans.

I would like to see Europe being consolidated more quickly. I do not criticize but we have experienced five years of serious showering down of the process. The Western Balkans need an incentive, Đukanović believes.

He added that the new European Commission sent excellent messages and that those were very significant encouragements.

Unfortunately, the year of 2020 does not end in that spirit. Intergovernmental conferences for North Macedonia and Albania, and Kosovo visa liberalization failed to be addressed, Đukanović stated.  

He emphasized that he hoped that the EU realized that without Western Balkans integration there would not be stability in Europe.

Asked whether he thinks that Russia gave up on Montenegro, or it was still present, or maybe its focus in on the other regional countries, Đukanović said that Europe must finally learn that the Western Balkans was the zone of its primary responsibility.

If the EU is not in the Western Balkans, it is logical that there will be more of China and Russia, Đukanović stated.

He believes that the geopolitical map has been changed and that now it is important for the chance not to be used others in the absence of Europe. 

What does it look like – we have seen in Montenegro in 2016 and 2020. This year we had a sophisticated fight, Đukanović said.

He said that the Serbian Orthodox Church was tasked with developing the Serbian national identity in the regional countries.

That means threatening the state’s sovereignty and its civic and secular character. Everything you have been witnessing in Montenegro, you will also witness at any electoral process in Europe and the USA, Đukanović stated.

He assessed that Russia was attacking the unique/united Europe and that Montenegro had been only one target in a row.

I believe that the Euro-Atlantic area is a place of serious politics. Those who were doubtful about small Montenegro being needed to NATO remained disappointed. Montenegro has become a trustworthy partner. Nowadays, NATO is under the attack, Đukanović stated.

He believes that the new government must develop a really good and reliable organization in order not to jeopardize the partner’s trust.

The US Ambassador to Montenegro, Judy Rising Reinke expressed her hope that Montenegro would remain strongly committed to NATO Alliance and values that it is promoting. Speaking at the 10th 2BS Forum, Reinke emphasized her hope that the new government would build the integrated and secure Montenegro, that it would remain strongly committed to NATO Alliance and values that it is promoting.

To remain on this path, Montenegro needs a fight against organized crime and corruption, independent judiciary, as she explained. H.E. Reinke said that she was very pleased that the new government announced zero tolerance rate to corruption.

Those are the enemies of the society, she said, adding that security depends on the way of fighting the threats that the society is facing. As a particular danger, Reinke pointed out to omnipresence of disinformation and fake news, appealing that this danger be taken very seriously, since it is the way to prevent the chaos caused by such pieces of information from happening. Reminding to the whole range of partnership projects that Montenegro and US implemented together, she said that the partnership of two countries is based on the common values and that Montenegro confirmed itself as a reliable US and NATO ally since its independence. US Ambassador particularly emphasized the role that the Army of Montenegro had in the common peace missions, especially the one in Afghanistan in which 30% of Montenegrin military personnel took part.

The last significant project that we implemented together was a training against cyber terrorism, significantly great danger, threatening to all of us. This kind of engagement demonstrates that there are no small and big allies in NATO, there are just equal members that are striving together to confront everything that undermines the common values, Reinke said.

Reinke particularly warned to dangers coming from Russia and China, their armament and strengthening of their oppressive regimes which, as she emphasizes, are threatening to the common safety.

China is investing everywhere, including in Montenegro, in great infrastructural projects and it is a matter of politics whether we would allow them to do so, she said.

Facing a complex danger, we need to actively cooperate and stand together, US Ambassador said.

Reinke particularly thanked to the Atlantic Council of Montenegro which for more than a decade has been promoting and fiercely advocating that the Euro-Atlantic values become accepted in Montenegro.