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November 2013

NATO & Serbia


ATA Brief on Relations Between NATO and its Members

Early Relations with the Alliance


Serbia was invited to join the Partnership for Peace (PFP) programme in December 2006. The country indicated
its desire to become an active participant in the PfP in its PfP Presentation Document submitted to NATO in
September 2007. It submitted its first Individual Partnership Programme (IPP) under the PfP in early 2009.
Democratic, institutional and defense reforms are all key focuses of the cooperation. While not currently seeking
membership in the Alliance, the country is presently in discussions with NATO on deepening cooperation through
the development of an Individual Partnership Action Plan following the decision of the North Atlantic Council from
April 2011, to approve Serbias request to develop an Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO.
At the Chicago Summit in May 2012, Allied leaders reiterated their support for Serbias Euro-Atlantic integration.
Leaders also encouraged Belgrade to continue building a stronger partnership with NATO, making full use of its
Partnership for Peace (PfP) membership, while at the same time respecting Serbias policy of military neutrality.
The work is ongoing to provide the framework for reinforced cooperation through the development of an Individual
Partnership Action Plan.
Mutual Benefits
Defense and security sector reforms are core elements of cooperation. An important vehicle for this cooperation
has been the Serbia/NATO Defense Reform Group (DRG). The group was jointly established in February 2006 to
provide advice and assistance to the Serbian authorities on reform and modernization of Serbias armed forces,
and to build a modern, affordable and democratically-controlled defense structure.
Serbia also joined the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) in 2007. The PARP provides a structured basis for
identifying partner forces and capabilities that could be available to the Alliance for multinational training,
exercises and operations. It also serves as a planning tool to guide and measure progress in defense and military
transformation efforts. The reforms undertaken thus far within the DRG and the PARP are supported through the
selection of training activities and exercises.
The Alliance as a whole, as well as certain individual Allies, have considerable expertise upon which Serbia can
draw from, especially in the area of defense and security sector reform. One important priority will be for Serbia
and the Allies to work together to further promote transparent democratic control over the Serbian armed forces.
The Allies have supported a number of NATO/PfP Trust Fund projects in Serbia. These include a project to
destroy a 28,000 surplus of small arms and light weapons, which was completed in 2003, and another for the
safe destruction of 1.4 million landmines and ammunition, which was completed in June 2007. A third Trust
Fund project for the destruction of an approximately 2,000-ton surplus of ammunition and explosives was
launched in July 2013.
Another Trust Fund project to develop alternative livelihoods for former members of the Serbian armed forces was
completed in 2011. The implementing agent for this project is the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

This project, carried out over five years and worth 9.6 million, helped almost 6,000 discharged defense personnel
in Serbia start small businesses.
Some of the basic mechanisms of cooperation are: Individual partnership cooperation program (IPCP), Planning
and Review Process (PARP), Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC), Building Integrity Initiative (BI). Additional
forms of cooperation: Cooperation of SAF with KFOR, Agreement on Security of Information (Oct. 2008),
Agreement on Use of NATO Codification System (May 2010), Work of NATO-Serbia DRG, Work of Mixed
Commission Serbia-SAD for defense reform issues, Cooperation with the NATO Military Liaison office in Belgrade,
Starting the cooperation under the framework of the Individual Partnership Action Plan, sending the officers of
SAF at Partner Staff Positions (PSP), entry into PfP/SOFA Agreement, signing of memorandum of understanding
with NATO Support Agency (NSPA) and NATO Communication and Informatics Organization (NCIO), starting of a
new NATO Trust fund for enhancing the capacities of technical-overhaul institute in Kragujevac, accreditation of
the CBRN Training center as the Partner center for training and education.
Looking to the Future
At this moment, around 17% of Serbian citizens with voting rights would vote in favor of NATO membership in the
potential referendum. This is still a good percent having in mind that Serbia does not have an adequate
communication strategy for NATO membership, although some of the NGOs are already implementing some of its
elements by working with the public directly, as well as through the media. While the Army is currently working
on the implementation of NATO standards. With efficient usage of partnership mechanisms from the PfP program,
Serbia decided to use tools from the Operational Capabilities Concept Evaluation and Feedback (OCC E&F). For
usage of this mechanism Serbia received positive remarks from NATO when 26 evaluators participated in the
evaluation of the interoperability of the Serbian Army units declared for the EU and UN peacekeeping missions
from 5-14th Sep 2012. In the city of Sombor, as part of a military exercise called/named SHIELD 02. This
exercise involved more than 250 Serbian soldiers from infantry, military police and CBRN units who simulated a
real operation scenario in English, using NATO tactical procedures and modern devices. After this exercise, Chief
of NATO Military Liaison Office in Belgrade BG Ornello Baron expressed satisfaction with the exercise which was,
in his opinion, performed with outstanding professional skills demonstrated by the Serbian Army units. Serbia
also received positive feedback from a NATO team that visited the country in order to check the progress of the
MoD in the use of NATO BI toolkit, when the NATO ambassador for BI projects Mr. Jan Lucas Van Horn,
expressed his satisfaction concerning great efforts made by the Serbian MoD in this process.
As stated above, although Serbia does not have communication strategy for NATO membership, the Atlantic
Council of Serbia is fostering the discussions about security issues in Serbia by rounding the dialogue among
three key target groups: decision makers and experts through the expert conferences and seminars, mediators
between the former and the citizens the media representatives, through Write as you speak seminars and by
direct contact with the citizens from all the regions in Serbia in the form of partnership tours in our country,
trusting that before any decision is made, one must have an adequate level of information about the issue at hand
in order to know how saying yes or no concerns any issue on the Serbian agenda.

By the Atlantic Council of Serbia

The views expressed in this article are entirely those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of the Atlantic Treaty
Association, its members, affiliates or staff.

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