By Adnan Prekic – Podgorica
Reform of security agencies was one of the fundamental complaints of NATO Alliance, when deciding on Montenegro’s membership in the alliance and it was mainly related to the National Security Agency. The Government of Montenegro has plans to solve the issue of retirement of a large number of officers of this institution. Daily “Vijesti” reports that in accordance with the National Security Agency initiative, the government is intensively working on Amendments to the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance, which would mean that employees with 20 years of service will have to go straight into retirement.
Changes in the legislation would open up space for the retirement of controversial staff in the National Security Agency. The government expects to thereby intensify the process of reform of the security services, which is one of the conditions for the invitation to join NATO.
If changes to the law are adopted, Montenegro will not be the first state to reform personnel security agencies with the implementation of controversial retirement of officers. A similar situation took place in Croatia, Slovenia and Bulgaria, ahead of accession to NATO, where they retired members of the service who have not been according to the standards the Alliance.
In addition to strengthening the rule of law, reform of the security structure is a key task of Montenegro by the end of 2015 and Montenegro has to fulfill thistask in order to obtain invitation for membership in NATO.
Referring to official data, media in Montenegro reported that the National Security Agency in 2007 had approximately 400 employees, and in the middle of this year, around 300, of which 16 percent are more than 50 years of age, which means that many of them fulfill the criteria to go to mandatory retirement.
From the NATO summit in Wales it was announced that by the end of 2015 it will be made known whether Montenegro will receive an invitation to join the alliance.Leaders of NATO member countries have agreed to open intensified and focused discussions on Montenegro’s candidacy for membership. On the ministerial meeting in June, NATO member States found that the reform of the Intelligence Service is not yet complete and that Montenegro has to complete the given conditions until the end of next year. It is quite clear what Montenegro needs to do in order to obtain an invitation to join NATO. The list of conditions that has been given by the member countries has to be completed by the end of 2015.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Montenegro could be ready to begin talks to join next year, if they meet certain requirements. One of the key tasks of the Montenegrin authorities in this period will be the reform of the security sector, the only area that the Secretary-General specifically mentioned.