Monday, June 28

16:00 – 17:30h (CEST) | 10:00 am – 11:30 am (EDT)

Online Event

The Atlantic Council of Montenegro is delighted to invite you to a public virtual event on June 28, 2021 from 16:00 – 17:30h (CEST) / 10:00 am – 11:30 am (EDT), on the 2021 NATO Summit Outcomes and implications for the Western Balkans. The event is a part of the project supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy (of the German Marshall Fund) and USAID and is the first out of five Online Talks Series that will be organized to support and enhance discussions regarding peace, security, and stability in the region.

The ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic that marked the year 2020 and continues in 2021 with its consequences to be felt for several years to come, has demonstrated how fragile and unprepared the countries and the world, in general, are for any future health or biological risks. The political, economic, and societal implications of the coronavirus pandemic, together with the new U.S. Administration in the House, global power center shifts with the stronger geopolitical influence of authoritarian regimes of Russia and China and Europe’s attempt to navigate the changing international order, has influenced transatlantic policy discussions. The challenges such as increasingly vocal requests for cooperation in regards to climate change as well as digital and technological transformations that are inevitably shaping defence and security, influence and shape the transatlantic dialogue. The recently organized NATO Summit provided an opportunity for Allies to discuss all of these topics, reaffirm the transatlantic bond, discuss the NATO2030 initiative, and ways in which NATO should move forward and adapt to the challenges and threats of the next decade. The seventy-nine-paragraph Summit communiqué compared to the nine-paragraph declaration from the 2019 summit is a clear indication of the Allies’ transatlantic commitment.

International affairs are inevitably transferred to the regional and national stage. The Western Balkan countries are increasingly showing the tendencies and weaknesses of the new underdeveloped democracies that create space for autocracies, which revive backward ideas that are a direct opponent of Euro-Atlanticism and were the political platform for wars and conflicts in this area. Under these conditions, unfortunately, the phrase that describes the Western Balkans as the “soft belly” of Europe and Euro-Atlanticism is once again rekindled, with situations and relations created to destabilize and violate the unity of both NATO and the EU. In 2021, Montenegro has marked its fourth and North Macedonia its first anniversary of NATO membership, while Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina mark 15 years of their Partnership for Peace (PfP) joining, but what does this mean in today’s world and circumstances on the ground that are very much painted with the domestic political competition? With the increasingly felt presence and influence of Russia and China in this region, can the Western Balkans become collateral damage of geopolitical upheavals?

With this Online Talk, the Atlantic Council of Montenegro wants to examine the NATO Summit outcomes, the similarities and existing divisions between the Allies on “whom” should NATO be looking at in the future as its biggest adversary, and adaptability for the challenges and threats in the next decade. This will also be an opportunity to examine the negative trends developing in the region such as rising nationalism, growing authoritarianism, and receding democracy, and the growing influence of Russia and China which can strongly destabilize the region and slow down the process of Western Balkan countries’ road toward EU and NATO.


  • NATO Summit outcomes and Allies unity and/or divisions?
  • NATO2030 agenda, adaptability, and new challenges
  • NATO vs European defence policy
  • NATO stance on Russia and China
  • What does the reaffirmed transatlantic bond mean for the Western Balkans?


Ranko Krivokapić, Vice President of the Atlantic Council of Montenegro

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Former President of Croatia

Benjamin Haddad, Director, Europe Center, Atlantic Council, US

Stefano Stefanini, Former Permanent Representative of Italy to NATO,
Director, Project Associates, Brussels


Savo Kentera, President of the Atlantic Council of Montenegro