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    An opposition supporter holds a banner that reads No to war - no to NATO during protest in downtown Podgorica, Montenegro, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015

    Montenegro to Pay $490,000 Annually to NATO Budget - Defense Ministry

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    Montenegro's annual fee to the NATO budget will amount to 450,000 euros ($490,000), which is 0.027 percent of the alliance's budget, the Montenegrin Defense Ministry said.

    BELGRADE (Sputnik) — According to the statement, Montenegro's NATO nationals will cost each Montenegrin national $0.78 a year.

    "These are the only funds which Montenegro has to allocate for NATO needs… Obviously and clearly, this NATO membership sum of money is absolutely suitable and real for Montenegro, moreover, if we speak about the investment in the future of our country in many aspects, including most important ones — security and economy… These funds are intended for investments in the Montenegrin defense system, for those employed in this industry, technical maintenance and modernization," the ministry said.

    In early March, media reported, citing Montenegrin opposition leader Milan Knezevic, that the country's NATO membership would cost Podgorica 2 percent of the Montenegrin gross domestic product (GDP), which amounts to 70 million euros ($76.2 million).

    According to Knezevic, it will be the fifth expenditure item for the country's budget after expenses on the Ministry of Finance, Interior Ministry, Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Education, which will negatively affect the already unstable Montenegrin economy.

    Montenegro accepted the invitation to join NATO on December 3, 2015. The government's decision triggered mass protests throughout the country. In May 2016, the alliance members signed a protocol on Montenegro's accession to be ratified by all NATO member states before becoming a full-fledged member.

    Montenegro's parliament ratified on Friday the law on the country's accession to NATO

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