Ratification: Most difficult in the US, the longest in the Netherlands and Germany

Ratification: Most difficult in the US, the longest in the Netherlands and Germany
Once the ministers of the member states have signed Macedonia's Accession Protocol to NATO, the only thing that separates the country from full membership is the ratification. Greece today is expected to put a "stamp" on this document by voting in Parliament, and be not only the first country to ratify it, but also to do it in historic record time - because no accession has ever been ratified in practically two days.

In addition, EurActiv has come out for the second time with the information that the ratification of the Macedonia Accession Protocol will go even quicker, that the member countries have received such a recommendation and that the intention is for our country to "catch" the NATO summit in December to be held this year in London. Although it would seem to some as one deadline more or less within the framework of other ratifications, it is a fact that what should once have been passed by, for example, 21 countries, should now be passed by 29, which automatically complicates the process.

Research done in Montenegro before the country’s accession showed that ratification is the most difficult in Luxembourg, Croatia and the United States, because in order to pass it in these three countries, they are supposed to secure a two-thirds majority. In 27 of the 29 member states, ratification is voted in Parliament, and only in Canada the government is in charge of this decision, while in the UK, the head of diplomacy puts the signature, and the Protocol only goes to parliament for 21 days of review. The analysis of the previous enlargements shows that the ratification procedure takes longest in the Netherlands, and is followed by Germany, after having greatly expanded with seven new countries in 2004, the ratification took a record 275 days in the Netherlands and 160 days in Germany. And on condition that it was put on the agenda, with an average of 200 days in the previous enlargements in the Netherlands, and 103 days in Germany. In comparison, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland became member states 15 months after signing the Accession Protocol, the seven countries (Estonia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) became members after 16 months, Albania and Croatia waited for a year, and it was exactly how much it took and Montenegro to cross the road from signing the protocol to active membership.

Various practices exist in the way ratification is carried out, by law or by resolution only, from one or two parliaments' houses (for instance, in the United States the ratification is voted only in the Senate), in 21 countries it is voted through the simplest procedure - with a simple majority. Practically, except Albania, Estonia and Slovakia, all other countries when through the process only with one vote more.

What is most important is that usually countries with a political and democratic tradition, even when they change governments, respect the international agreements they have signed, and when they have already signed the document, it would be considered a precedent if they do not ratify the accession protocol.

But if membership is in some way guaranteed to us by the other member states, Macedonia has the last say that, after all the ratifications, whether it still wants to be a member of the Alliance, that is, at the end, it can change its mind and threaten its reception in the Alliance itself, above all, if in the meantime an anti-NATO headquarters has come to power. From this point of view, it is important also how this process gets public support for the future member states. So, the analysis shows that of all the 14 countries that became members of NATO during the last five enlargements, only two confirmed their wish to join the Alliance by referendum, and all others countries voted it in parliament. These two countries are Hungary, where as many as 85.3 percent of citizens voted in favour of NATO membership, and Slovenia, where 66.2 percent of citizens showed their support for the country’s NATO membership.

(NV)