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Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
. NATO is a
military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement between nations concerning national security National security or national defence is the security and Defence (military), defence of a sovereign state, nation state, including its Citizenship, c ...
of twenty-eight
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
an and two
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
n countries that constitutes a system of
collective defense Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement In music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal ...
. The process of joining the alliance is governed by Article 10 of the
North Atlantic Treaty The North Atlantic Treaty, also referred to as the Washington Treaty, is the treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and ...
, which allows only for the invitation of "other European States", and by subsequent agreements. Countries wishing to join have to meet certain requirements and complete a multi-step process involving political dialogue and military integration. The accession process is overseen by the
North Atlantic Council The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the principal political decision-making body of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also call ...
, NATO's governing body. After its formation in 1949 with twelve founding members, NATO grew by including
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
in 1952 and
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wieder ...
in 1955, and then later
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
in 1982. After the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
ended, and Germany reunited in 1990, there was a debate in NATO about continued expansion eastward. In 1999,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
, and the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to ...
joined NATO, amid much debate within the organization and Russian opposition. Another expansion came with the accession of seven
Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe, the Baltic states, Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Europe (also called the Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc and War ...
an countries:
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
,
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
,
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
,
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
,
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to th ...

Slovakia
, and
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
. These nations were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, and joined NATO shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit.
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
and
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
joined on 1 April 2009, prior to the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit. The most recent member states to be added to NATO are
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
on 5 June 2017 and
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
on 27 March 2020. As of 2021, NATO officially recognizes three aspiring members:
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
, and
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
. Future expansion is currently a topic of debate in several countries outside the alliance, and countries like
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
,
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
, and
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
have open political debate on the topic of membership, while in countries like
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, support and opposition to membership is tied to ethnic and nationalist ideologies. The incorporation of countries formerly part of the
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' ...
and the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
has been a cause of increased tension between NATO countries and
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
.


Past enlargements

NATO has added new members eight times since its founding in 1949 to include thirty members. Twelve countries were part of the founding of NATO:
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
,
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
,
Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and the List of islands in the Atlantic Ocean#N ...

Iceland
,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
,
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...

Luxembourg
,
the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...
,
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
, the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
. The early years of the Cold War saw a stark divide between Capitalist states of Europe, backed by United States, and the Communist states, backed by the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. This divide eased inclusion of Portugal under Antonio Salazar in NATO and encouraged the anti-Communist governments of
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
to join NATO in 1952. Greece would suspend its membership in 1974, over the
Turkish invasion of Cyprus The Turkish invasion of Cyprus was launched on 20 July 1974, following the Cypriot coup d'état on 15 July 1974. The coup had been ordered by the military Junta in Greece and staged by the Cypriot National Guard , name2 = ...
, but rejoined in 1980 with Turkey's cooperation. The
Bonn–Paris conventions The Bonn–Paris conventions were signed in May 1952 and came into force after the 1955 ratification. The conventions put an end to the Allied occupation of West Germany.Joachim von ElbU.S. Embassy Bonn HistoryU.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germa ...
ended the allies' occupation of
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wieder ...
, and were ratified in part on the condition that West Germany join NATO, which it did in 1955. Though initially isolationist, Spain under Francisco Franco was staunchly anti-Communist, and bound by regular defence agreements with NATO countries. After its transition to democracy,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
came under pressure to normalize its European relations, including joining NATO, which it did in 1982. A referendum in 1986 confirmed popular support for this.


German reunification

The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, peop ...
on 1990, when the former
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the former East Germany. Though the topic may have been raised during the treaty's negotiations, there is no mention of NATO enlargement in the September–October 1990 agreements on German reunification. Whether or not the West ''informally'' committed to not enlarge NATO to the East is a matter of dispute among historians and international relations scholars. It is however a fact that there was no ''formal'' agreement on NATO non-expansion, quite the opposite — on 12 September 1990 the Soviet delegation signed the Final Settlement on German reunification that explicitly permitted presence of some NATO forces in the former Eastern Germany. In a 2007 speech, Russian President
Vladimir Putin Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, (born 7 October 1952) is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who is serving as the current president of Russia. He has been serving in this position since 2012, and he previously held this of ...

Vladimir Putin
distorted a quote from Manfred Wörner to create an impression that such promises were made, and this impression was raised again as a potential justification for Russia's 2014 actions in Ukraine. Russian reaction to possible NATO expansion during the early 1990s was however mixed. During an August 1993 visit to Poland, Russian President
Boris Yeltsin Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin ( rus, links=no, Борис Николаевич Ельцин, a=ru-Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin.ogg, p=bɐˈrʲis nʲɪkɐˈlaɪvʲɪtɕ ˈjelʲtsɨn; 1 February 1931 – 23 April 2007) was a Russian and former Soviet ...

Boris Yeltsin
told Polish President
Lech Wałęsa Lech Wałęsa (; ; born 29 September 1943) is a Polish statesman, dissident, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who served as the first democratically elected president of Poland from 1990 to 1995. A shipyard electrician by trade, he became t ...
that "Russia does not oppose Poland's membership in NATO and does not perceive its membership in NATO as a threat to Russia." Under pressure from opposition in Russia, this informal declaration was retracted the following month.


Visegrád Group

Russian military actions, including the
First Chechen War The First Chechen War, also known as the First Chechen Campaign ,Федеральный закон № 5-ФЗ от 12 января 1995 (в редакции от 27 ноября 2002) "О ветеранах" or First Russian-Chechen war was ...
,
Transnistria War The Transnistria War ( ro, Războiul din Transnistria; russian: Война в Приднестровье) was an armed conflict that broke out in November 1990 in Dubăsari (russian: Дубоссáры, ''Dubossary'') between pro-Transnistria forc ...
, and War in Abkhazia, were among the factors driving
Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe, the Baltic states, Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Europe (also called the Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc and War ...
an countries, particularly those with memories of similar Soviet offensives, to push for NATO application and ensure their long-term security. Political parties reluctant to move on NATO membership were voted out of office, including the
Bulgarian Socialist Party The Bulgarian Socialist Party ( bg, Българска социалистическа партия, translit=Bŭlgarska socialističeska partija), also known as the Centenarian ( bg, Столетницата, translit=Stoletnicata), is a social-dem ...
in 1996 and Slovak HZDS in 1998. Hungary's interest in joining was confirmed by a November 1997 referendum that returned 85.3% in favor of membership. In February 1991, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia formed the
Visegrád Group The Visegrád Group, Visegrád Four, V4, or European Quartet, is a cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, ar ...
to push for
European integration European integration is the process of industrial, economic integration, economic, political, legal, social and cultural Regional integration, integration of states wholly or partially in Europe or nearby. European integration has primarily ...
under the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
and NATO, as well as to conduct military reforms in line with NATO standards. Internal NATO reaction to these former
Warsaw Pact The Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), officially the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, commonly known as the Warsaw Pact (WP), was a collective defense Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement ...
countries was initially negative, but by the 1991 Rome summit in November, members agreed to a series of goals that could lead to accession, such as market and democratic liberalization, and that NATO should be a partner in these efforts. In subsequent years, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its eastern neighbors were set up, including the
North Atlantic Cooperation Council 450px, Map of EAPC membership The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), a post–Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and ...
(later the
Euro-Atlantic Partnership CouncilThe Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), a post– Cold War NATO institution, is a multilateral forum created to improve relations between NATO and non-NATO countries in Europe and those parts of Asia on the European periphery. States meet to c ...
) and the
Partnership for Peace The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernm ...
. While the other Visegrád members were invited to join NATO at its 1997 Madrid summit, Slovakia was excluded based on what several members considered undemocratic actions by nationalist Prime Minister
Vladimír Mečiar Vladimír Mečiar (; born 26 July 1942) is a Slovak politician who served as Prime Minister of Slovakia The chairman of the government of the Slovak Republic ( sk, Predseda vlády Slovenskej republiky), also known as the prime minister of Sl ...
.
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
and
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
were both considered for invitation in 1997, and each had the backing of a prominent NATO member, France and Italy respectively, but support for enlargement was not unanimous, particularly in the
US Congress The United States Congress is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted wi ...

US Congress
. In an open letter to US President
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
, more than forty foreign policy experts including
Bill Bradley William Warren Bradley (born July 28, 1943) is an American politician and former professional basketball Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court ...

Bill Bradley
,
Sam Nunn Samuel Augustus Nunn Jr. (born September 8, 1938) is an American politician who served as a United States Senate, United States Senator from Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia (1972–1997) as a member of the United States Democratic Party, Democratic ...

Sam Nunn
,
Gary Hart Gary Warren Hart ('' né'' Hartpence; born November 28, 1936) is an American politician, diplomat, and lawyer. He was the front-runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination until he dropped out amid revelations of extramarital affairs ...
,
Paul Nitze Paul may refer to: *Paul (given name) Paul () is a common masculine given name in countries and ethnicities with a Christian heritage (Eastern Orthodoxy The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List ...
, and
Robert McNamara Robert Strange McNamara () (June 9, 1916 – July 6, 2009) was an American business executive and the eighth United States Secretary of Defense The United States secretary of defense (SecDef) is the head of the United States Department of ...
expressed their concerns about NATO expansion as both expensive and unnecessary given the lack of an external threat from Russia at that time.


Vilnius Group

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the George H.W. Bush administration (1989-1993) began to debate internally whether enlargement of NATO was feasible and desirable. By mid-1992, a consensus emerged within the administration that NATO enlargement was a wise realpolitik measure to strengthen American hegemony. In the absence of NATO enlargement, Bush administration officials worried that the European Union might fill the security vacuum in
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
, and thus challenge American post-Cold War influence. There was an active debate within the
Clinton administration Bill Clinton's tenure as the List of presidents of the United States, 42nd president of the United States began with First inauguration of Bill Clinton, his first inauguration on January 20, 1993, and ended on January 20, 2001. Clinton, a Demo ...
(1993-2001) between a rapid offer of full membership to several select countries verses a slower, more limited membership to a wide range of states over a longer time span. Victory by the Republican Party, who advocated for aggressive expansion, in the 1994 US congressional election helped sway US policy in favor of wider full-membership enlargement. At the 1999 Washington summit, where Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic officially joined, NATO also issued new guidelines for membership with individualized "
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
s" for
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
,
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
,
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
,
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
,
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. In May 2000, these countries joined with
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
to form the in order to cooperate and lobby for common NATO membership, and by the 2002 Prague summit seven were invited for membership, which took place at the 2004 Istanbul summit. Russia was particularly upset with the addition of the three
Baltic states The Baltic states ( et, Balti riigid, Baltimaad; lv, Baltijas valstis; lt, Baltijos valstybės), also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic republics, Baltic nations, or simply the Baltics, is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the ...

Baltic states
, the first countries that were part of the Soviet Union to join NATO. Slovenia had held a referendum on NATO the previous year, with 66% approving of membership. A 2006 study in the journal '' Security Studies'' argued that the NATO enlargements in 1999 and 2004 contributed to democratic consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe.


Adriatic Charter

Croatia also started a
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
at the 2002 summit, leading to a national debate on whether a referendum on NATO membership needed to be held there. Croatian Prime Minister
Ivo Sanader Ivo Sanader (born 8 June 1953) is a Croatian politician who served as Prime Minister of Croatia from 2003 to 2009. He is to date the longest-serving prime minister since independence, holding the office for over five and a half years before resig ...
ultimately agreed in January 2008, as part of forming a coalition government with the HSS and HSLS parties, not to officially propose one.
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
declared independence on 3 June 2006, and the new country subsequently joined the Partnership for Peace programme at the 2006 Riga summit. Albania and Croatia were invited to join NATO at the 2008 Bucharest summit that April, though Slovenia threatened to hold up Croatian membership over their border dispute in the Bay of Piran. Slovenia did ratify Croatia's accession protocol in February 2009, and Croatia and Albania both officially joined NATO just prior to the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit, with little opposition from Russia. Montenegro applied for a
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
on 5 November 2008, which was granted in December 2009. Montenegro also began full membership with the Adriatic Charter of NATO aspirants in May 2009. NATO formally invited Montenegro to join the alliance on 2 December 2015, with negotiations concluding in May 2016, and Montenegro joined NATO on 5 June 2017.
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
joined the
Partnership for Peace The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernm ...
in 1995, and commenced its
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
in 1999, at the same time as
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
. At the 2008 Bucharest summit,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
blocked a proposed invitation because it believed that its neighbor's constitutional name implies territorial aspirations toward its own region of Macedonia (Greece), Greek Macedonia. NATO nations agreed that the country would receive an invitation upon resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute. Macedonia sued Greece at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over their veto of Macedonia's NATO membership. Macedonia was part of the , and had formed the Adriatic Charter with Croatia and Albania in 2003 to better coordinate NATO accession. In June 2017, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev signaled he would consider alternatives names for the country in order to strike a compromise with Greece, settle the naming dispute, and lift Greek objections to Macedonia joining the alliance. The naming dispute was resolved with the Prespa Agreement in June 2018 under which the country adopted the name North Macedonia, which was supported by 2018 Macedonian referendum, a referendum in September 2018. NATO invited North Macedonia to begin membership talks on 11 July 2018, and formal accession talks began on 18 October 2018. NATO's members signed North Macedonia's accession protocol on 6 February 2019, and most countries ratified the accession treaty in 2019, with
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
ratifying its accession protocol in March 2020. The Assembly of North Macedonia, Sobranie also ratified the treaty unanimously on 11 February 2020, and North Macedonia became a NATO member state on 27 March 2020.


Criteria and process


Article 10

The
North Atlantic Treaty The North Atlantic Treaty, also referred to as the Washington Treaty, is the treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and ...
is the basis of the organization, and, as such, any changes including new membership requires ratification by all current signers of the treaty. The treaty's Article 10 describes how non-member states may join
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
, and outlines NATO's "open door" policy: This article poses two general limits to non-member states. First, only European states are eligible for new membership, and second, these states not only need the approval of all the existing member states, but every member state can put some criteria forward that have to be attained. In practice, NATO formulates a common set of criteria, but for instance
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
blocked the Republic of Macedonia's accession to NATO for many years due to the Macedonia naming dispute, disagreement over the use of the name Macedonia. Turkey similarly opposes the participation of the Republic of Cyprus with NATO institutions as long as the Cyprus dispute is not resolved. Since the 1991 Rome summit, when the delegations of its member states officially offered cooperation with Europe's newly democratic states, NATO has addressed and further defined the expectations and procedure for adding new members. The 1994 Brussels summit#Accomplishments, 1994 Brussels Declaration reaffirmed the principles in Article 10 and led to the "Study on NATO Enlargement". Published in September 1995, the study outlined the "how and why" of possible enlargement in Europe, highlighting three principles from the 1949 treaty for members to have: "democracy, individual liberty, and rule of law". As NATO Secretary General Willy Claes noted, the 1995 study did not specify the "who or when," though it discussed how the then newly formed
Partnership for Peace The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernm ...
and
North Atlantic Cooperation Council 450px, Map of EAPC membership The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), a post–Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and ...
could assist in the enlargement process, and noted that on-going territorial disputes could be an issue for whether a country was invited. At the 1997 Madrid summit, the heads of state of NATO issued the "Madrid Declaration on Euro-Atlantic Security and Cooperation" which invited three
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
an countries to join the alliance, out of the twelve that had at that point requested to join, laying out a path for others to follow.


Membership Action Plan

The biggest step in the formalization of the process for inviting new members came at the 1999 Washington summit when the Membership Action Plan (MAP) mechanism was approved as a stage for the current members to regularly review the formal applications of aspiring members. A country's participation in MAP entails the annual presentation of reports concerning its progress on five different measures: *Willingness to settle international, ethnic or external territorial disputes by peaceful means, commitment to the rule of law and human rights, and democratic control of armed forces *Ability to contribute to the organization's defence and missions *Devotion of sufficient resources to armed forces to be able to meet the commitments of membership *Security of sensitive information, and safeguards ensuring it *Compatibility of domestic legislation with NATO cooperation NATO provides feedback as well as technical advice to each country and evaluates its progress on an individual basis. Once a country is agreed to meet the requirements, NATO can issue that country an invitation to begin accession talks. Currently, one country has a Membership Action Plan:
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
, but Georgia and Ukraine also want a MAP. Former MAP participants were Accession of Albania to NATO, Albania and Accession of Croatia to NATO, Croatia between May 2002 and April 2009, Montenegro-NATO relations, Montenegro between December 2009 and June 2017 and North Macedonia-NATO relations, North Macedonia between April 1999 and March 2020, when they joined NATO. The final accession process, once invited, involves five steps leading up to the signing of the accession protocols and the acceptance and ratification of those protocols by the governments of the current NATO members.


Intensified Dialogue

Intensified Dialogue was first introduced in April 2005 at an informal meeting of foreign ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania, as a response to Ukrainian aspirations for NATO membership and related reforms taking place under President Viktor Yushchenko, and which followed the 2002 signing of the NATO–Ukraine Action Plan under his predecessor, Leonid Kuchma. This formula, which includes discussion of a "full range of political, military, financial and security issues relating to possible NATO membership ... had its roots in the 1997 Madrid summit", where the participants had agreed "to continue the Alliance's intensified dialogues with those nations that aspire to NATO membership or that otherwise wish to pursue a dialogue with NATO on membership questions". In September 2006,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
became the second to be offered the Intensified Dialogue status, following a rapid change in foreign policy under President Mikhail Saakashvili, and what they perceived as a demonstration of military readiness during the 2006 Kodori crisis.
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
,
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
, and
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
similarly received offers at the April 2008 Bucharest summit. While their neighbors both requested and accepted the dialogue programme, Serbia's offer was presented to guarantee the possibility of future ties with the alliance.


Current status

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only country with a
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
, which together with Georgia, were named NATO "aspirant countries" at the North Atlantic Council meeting on 7 December 2011. Ukraine was recognized as an aspirant country after the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Operation Deliberate Force, 1995 NATO bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina targeted the Army of Republika Srpska, Bosnian Serb Army and together with international pressure led to the resolution of the Bosnian War and the signing of the Dayton Agreement in 1995. Since then, NATO has led the Implementation Force and Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Stabilization Force, and other peacekeeping efforts in the country. Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the Partnership for Peace in 2006, and signed an agreement on security cooperation in March 2007. Bosnia and Herzegovina began further cooperation with NATO within their Individual Partnership Action Plan in January 2008. The country then started the process of Intensified Dialogue at the 2008 Bucharest summit. The country was invited to join the Adriatic Charter of NATO aspirants in September 2008. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina within
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
has expressed willingness to join NATO, however, it faces consistent political pressure from Republika Srpska, the other political entity in the country, alongside its partners in
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
. On 2 October 2009, Haris Silajdžić, the Bosniak Member of the Presidency, announced official application for
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
. On 22 April 2010, NATO agreed to launch the
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
for Bosnia and Herzegovina, but with certain conditions attached. Turkey is thought to be the biggest supporter of Bosnian membership, and heavily influenced the decision. The conditions of the MAP, however, stipulated that no Annual National Programme could be launched until 63 military facilities are transferred from Political divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia's political divisions to the central government, which is one of the conditions for the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina#Conditions for closure of the Office of the High Representative, OHR closure. The leadership of the Republika Srpska has opposed this transfer as a loss of autonomy. All movable property, including all weapons and other army equipment, is fully registered as the property of the country starting 1 January 2006. A ruling of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 6 August 2017 decided that a disputed military facility in Han Pijesak is to be registered as property of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is expected to be a precedent for all other similar facilities, and could thus be the final factor that will enable the activation of the MAP for Bosnia. Despite that all immovable property is not fully registered, NATO approved the activation of the
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and called on Bosnia to submit an Annual National Program on 5 December 2018. An August 2010 poll showed that 70 percent of the country supports NATO membership, but results were very different in the two constituent entities. While 90 percent of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina supported NATO membership, only 40 percent in Republika Srpska did. Bosnian chances of joining NATO may depend on Serbia's attitude towards the alliance, since the leadership of Republika Srpska might be reluctant to go against Serbian interests. In October 2017, the National Assembly (Republika Srpska), National Assembly of the Republika Srpska passed a nonbinding resolution opposing NATO membership for Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Georgia

Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
moved quickly following the Rose Revolution in 2003 to seek closer ties with NATO. Georgia's northern neighbor,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
, opposed the closer ties, including those expressed at the 2008 Bucharest summit where NATO members promised that Georgia would eventually join the organization. Complications in the relationship between NATO and Georgia includes the presence of Russian military forces in internationally recognized Georgian territory as a result of multiple recent conflicts, like the 2008 Russo-Georgian War over the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are home to a large number of citizens of the Russian Federation. On 21 November 2011, President of Russia, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev while addressing soldiers in Vladikavkaz near the Georgian border stated that Russia's 2008 invasion had prevented any further NATO enlargement into the former Soviet Union, Soviet sphere. A 2008 Georgian referendum, nonbinding referendum in 2008 resulted in 77 percent of voters supporting NATO accession. In May 2013, Prime Minister of Georgia, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili stated that his goal was to get a
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
(MAP) for his country from NATO in 2014. In June 2014, diplomats from NATO suggested that while a MAP was unlikely, a package of "reinforced cooperation" agreements was a possible compromise. Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed that this could include the building of military capabilities and armed forces training. In September 2019, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that "NATO approaching our borders is a threat to Russia." He was quoted as saying that if
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
accepts Georgian membership with the article on collective defense covering only Tbilisi-administered territory (i.e., excluding the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are currently an List of states with limited recognition, unrecognized breakaway republics supported by Russia), "we will not start a war, but such conduct will undermine our relations with NATO and with countries who are eager to enter the alliance." On 29 September 2020, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Georgia to use every opportunity to move closer to the Alliance and speed up preparations for membership. Stoltenberg stressed that earlier this year, the Allies agreed to further strengthen the NATO-Georgia partnership. According to him, NATO welcomes the progress made by Georgia in carrying out reforms, modernizing its armed forces and strengthening democracy. It is worth noting that so far Georgia's calls for membership in such formulations have not appeared in the rhetoric of the Secretary General of the Alliance. At the same time, NATO recognizes Georgia's aspirations for membership in the Alliance, as in the case of Ukraine.


Ukraine

Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
's present and future relationship with NATO has been politically divisive, and is part of a larger debate between Ukraine's political and cultural ties to both the European Union and Russia. It established ties to the alliance with a NATO–Ukraine Action Plan on 22 November 2002, and joined NATO's
Partnership for Peace The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernm ...
initiative in February 2005. Then in April 2005, Ukraine entered into the Intensified Dialogue programme with NATO. In March 2008, under President of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister of Ukraine, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine sent an official letter of application for a
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
(MAP), the first step in joining NATO. These leaders however guaranteed their opposition that membership in any military alliance would not pass without public approval in a referendum. This idea had gained support from a number of NATO leaders, particularly those in
Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe, the Baltic states, Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Europe (also called the Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc and War ...
. Russian leaders like Prime Minister and President-Elect Dmitry Medvedev made clear their opposition to Ukraine membership, and leading up to the April 2008 Bucharest summit their emissary actively lobbied against a Ukrainian MAP. After some debate among members at the summit, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer declared in a press conference that Ukraine, together with Georgia, would someday join NATO, but neither would begin
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
s. At this summit, Russian President
Vladimir Putin Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, (born 7 October 1952) is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who is serving as the current president of Russia. He has been serving in this position since 2012, and he previously held this of ...

Vladimir Putin
, in his last international speech before switching jobs with Medvedev, listed his grievances with NATO, and called Ukrainian membership "a direct threat" to his country. The 2010 Ukrainian presidential election, 2010 election returned Viktor Yanukovych to the presidency and marked a turnaround in Ukraine's relations with NATO. In February 2010, he stated that Ukraine's relations with NATO were currently "well-defined", and that there was "no question of Ukraine joining NATO". He said the issue of Ukrainian membership of NATO might "emerge at some point, but we will not see it in the immediate future". While visiting Brussels in March 2010, he further stated that there would be no change to Ukraine's status as a member of the alliance's outreach programme. He later reiterated during a trip to Moscow that Ukraine would remain a "European, non-aligned state". Then, on 3 June 2010 the Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainian parliament voted to exclude the goal of "integration into Euro-Atlantic security and NATO membership" from the country's national security strategy in a bill drafted by Yanukovych himself.Ukraine drops NATO membership bid
EUobserver (6 June 2010)
The bill forbade Ukraine's membership in any military bloc, but allowed for co-operation with alliances such as NATO. Following months of Euromaidan street protests that began because of his refusal to sign an Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement, Association Agreement with the European Union in favor of deals from Russia, President Yanukovych fled Kyiv in February 2014, ultimately to Russia, and parliament voted to remove him from his post. This brought another change in direction of Ukraine's association with Europe and by extension NATO. In 2014, 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine, pro-Russian unrest occurred in eastern Ukraine and Crimea was Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, annexed by the Russian Federation in March. As part of an effort to assuage concerned groups, newly installed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk addressed the topic in a speech on 18 March 2014, emphasizing that Ukraine was not seeking NATO membership. US President Barack Obama echoed this position the following week, while calling for greater NATO presence in Central Europe. However, in response to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine (2014–present), Russian military intervention in Ukraine, Yatsenyuk announced his intentions to resume the bid for NATO integration on 29 August 2014, and in December 2014, Ukraine's parliament voted to drop the non-aligned status that it adopted in 2010. Secretary General of NATO, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has stated that NATO membership is still an option for Ukraine, and support for NATO membership has risen to 64 percent in government-controlled Ukraine according to a July 2015 poll. Previous polls had shown that the decline in opposition to membership was linked to the ongoing Russian intervention. On 8 June 2017, Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada passed a law making integration with NATO a foreign policy priority, and Poroshenko announced the next month that he would seek the opening of negotiations on a
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
with NATO, which, recognized Ukraine as an aspirant country by March 2018. On 20 September 2018, the Ukrainian parliament approved amendments to the constitution that would make the accession of the country to NATO and the EU a central goal and the main foreign policy objective. On 8 October 2020, during a meeting with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London, President of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi stated that Ukraine needs a NATO
Membership Action Plan Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the process of including new member states in NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the ...
(MAP), as NATO membership will contribute to Ukraine's security and defense. In April 2021, following a Russian troop buildup near the Ukraine border, Zelenskyi repeated this request in a call with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, saying that “NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbas” and that entry into the MAP “will be a real signal for Russia”.


Membership debates


Finland

Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
participates in nearly all sub-areas of the Partnership for Peace programme, and has provided peacekeeping forces to both the Afghanistan and Kosovo missions. The possibility of Finland's membership in NATO was one of the most important issues debated in relation to the 2006 Finnish presidential election, Finnish presidential election of 2006, and continues to be a significant issue in Finnish politics. In 2007, Finland made various technical preparations for membership, with the then Defence Minister Jyri Häkämies eager to pursue NATO membership. Nevertheless, public interest in the issue has since decreased. In April 2014, while Carl Haglund was Defence Minister, the government announced that they would sign a "Memorandum of Understanding" with NATO on Finland's readiness to receive military assistance and to aid NATO in equipment maintenance. However, Haglund emphasized that this memorandum would not be a step towards membership. Out of the major Finnish political parties, the National Coalition Party and Swedish People's Party of Finland support NATO membership. In 2016, the party conference of the National Coalition Party agreed that Finland should apply for membership "in the next few years". In the vision of the Swedish People's Party of Finland, Finland will be a NATO member in 2025. Many individual politicians have advocated for NATO as well, including the current President Sauli Niinistö and former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, as well as former President Martti Ahtisaari, who has argued that Finland should join all the organizations supported by other Western democracies in order "to shrug off once and for all the burden of Finlandization." Two other former presidents from the Social Democratic Party of Finland, Social Democratic Party, Tarja Halonen and Mauno Koivisto, have publicly opposed the idea, arguing that NATO membership would deteriorate Finland's relations with
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
. Finland has received some very critical feedback from Russia for even considering the possibility of joining NATO, with a 2009 study suggesting this could have repercussions for Russia's relations with the EU and NATO as a whole. Following the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, Prime Minister of Finland, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen reiterated that Finland had no plans to join NATO, and stated that the main lesson of the war was the need for closer ties to Russia. In a June 2014 interview in the Finnish newspaper ''Hufvudstadsbladet'', Vladimir Putin's personal envoy Sergey Alexandrovich Markov accused Finland of extreme "Russophobia" and suggested that Finland joining NATO could start World War III. In July 2016, Putin stated on a visit to Finland that Russia would increase the number of troops on the Finnish border if Finland were to join NATO. He also warned that NATO would "fight to the last Finn against Russia". A survey conducted by Finnish pollster EVA in January 2015 found that 43 percent of Finns polled opposed NATO membership, while 26 percent supported and 32 percent were undecided. EVA has noted a downward trend in the percent opposed that started in 1998, including a steep decline after the 2012 Finnish presidential election, 2012 presidential election. In March 2014, during Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Russia's annexation of Crimea, one survey showed only 22 percent supported membership, though a second showed that 53 percent would support membership if Finnish leadership recommended it. Support for a military alliance with neighbor
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
was also high, at 54 percent, and Finland could possibly seek an enlarged role for NORDEFCO. Minister of Defence (Finland), Finnish Minister of Defence Carl Haglund suggested that a referendum on NATO membership could be held sometime after the 2015 Finnish parliamentary election, 2015 parliamentary election. A poll from October 2017 showed that support for membership remained at 22%, while rising to 33% in the suggested scenario in which Sweden would join. The newest poll from December 2019 showed support decreasing further to 20%, while 56% opposed joining the alliance and 24% were unsure. In 2022 Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that there is a real possibility that Finland will join NATO.


Ireland

Republic of Ireland, Ireland has been a member of NATO's
Partnership for Peace The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernm ...
(PfP) programme and
Euro-Atlantic Partnership CouncilThe Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), a post– Cold War NATO institution, is a multilateral forum created to improve relations between NATO and non-NATO countries in Europe and those parts of Asia on the European periphery. States meet to c ...
(EAPC) since 1999, but has a traditional policy of Irish neutrality, military neutrality. Ireland participates in the alliance's PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP), which aims to increase the interoperability of the Irish military, the Defence Forces (Ireland), Defence Forces, with other NATO member states and bring them into line with accepted international standards so as to successfully deploy with other professional military forces on peacekeeping operations overseas. Ireland supplied a small number of troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan (2001–2014) and supports the ongoing NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR). Currently no major political party in Ireland fully supports accession to NATO, a reflection on public and media opinion in the country. There are a number of politicians who do support Ireland joining NATO, mainly within the centre-right Fine Gael party, but the majority of politicians still do not. The Irish republicanism, republican party Sinn Féin proposed a Amendments to the Constitution of Ireland, constitutional amendment to prohibit the country from joining a military alliance like NATO, but the legislation failed to pass the Dáil Éireann in April 2019. It is widely understood that a referendum would have to be held before any changes could be made to neutrality or to joining NATO. Former Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a visit to the country in 2013 that the "door is open" for Ireland to join NATO at any time.


Moldova

Moldova's constitution forbids the country from joining a military alliance, but some politicians, such as former Moldovan Minister of Defence Vitalie Marinuța, have suggested joining NATO as part of a larger European integration. Moldova joined NATO's
Partnership for Peace The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernm ...
in 1994, and initiated an Individual Partnership Action Plan in 2010. Following the 2014 Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, annexation of Crimea by Russia, NATO officials warned that
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
might seek to annex Transnistria, a breakaway Moldovan region. This separatist issue could preclude Moldova from joining NATO.


Serbia

The NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 and the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 resulted in strained relations between
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
and NATO. Relations were further strained following 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence, Kosovo's declaration of independence in 2008 while a United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, protectorate of the United Nations with security support from NATO. However, Serbia was invited and joined the
Partnership for Peace The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernm ...
programme during the 2006 Riga summit and in 2008, was invited to enter the intensified dialogue programme whenever the country is ready. National Assembly (Serbia), Serbia's Parliament passed a resolution in 2007 which declared their Neutral country, military neutrality until such time as a referendum was held on the issue. On 1 October 2008, Serbian Defence Minister Dragan Šutanovac signed the Information Exchange Agreement with NATO, one of the prerequisites for fuller membership in the
Partnership for Peace The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernm ...
programme. In April 2011 Serbia's request for an IPAP was approved by NATO, and Serbia submitted a draft IPAP in May 2013. The agreement was finalized on 15 January 2015. A CeSID poll in June 2015 conducted with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) indicated that only 12 percent of those polled supported for NATO membership, down from 25 percent in 2012, and 73 percent were opposed. The minor Liberal Democratic Party (Serbia), Liberal Democratic Party and Serbian Renewal Movement remain the most vocal political parties in favor of NATO membership. Although Accession of Serbia to the European Union, Serbia aspires to join the European Union, Serbia may seek to maintain military neutrality, joining neither NATO or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).


Sweden

In 1949,
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
chose not to join NATO and declared a security policy aiming for Swedish neutrality, non-alignment in peace and neutrality in war. A modified version now qualifies non-alignment in peace for possible neutrality in war. This position was maintained without much discussion during the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
. Since the 1990s, however, there has been an active debate in Sweden on the question of NATO membership in the Post–Cold War era, post–Cold War world. These ideological divides were visible in November 2006 when Sweden could either buy two new transport planes or join NATO's plane pool, and in December 2006, when Sweden was invited to join the NATO Response Force. Sweden has been an active participant in NATO-led missions in Bosnia (Implementation Force, IFOR and Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFOR), Kosovo (Kosovo Force, KFOR), Afghanistan (International Security Assistance Force, ISAF), and Libya (Operation Unified Protector). The ruling Swedish Swedish Social Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party have remained in favour of neutrality and non-alignment. This preference is shared by their partners, the Green Party (Sweden), Green Party, as well as the Left Party (Sweden), Left Party. The centre-right Moderate Party is the largest party by current parliamentary representation in favor of NATO membership, and like the Liberals (Sweden), Liberal Party have generally held that position since the end of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
. The Centre Party (Sweden), Centre Party was opposed to NATO membership until September 2015, when party leadership under Annie Lööf announced that they would motion to change the party policy in order to push for Sweden to join NATO at their next party conference. The Christian Democrats (Sweden), Christian Democrats, also previously opposed, likewise voted to support NATO membership at their October 2015 party meeting. When the nationalist Sweden Democrats adjusted their stance in December 2020 to allow for NATO membership if coordinated with neighboring
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
and ratified in a referendum, a majority of the members of the Swedish Riksdag for the first time belonged to parties that were open to NATO membership, and a motion to allow for future NATO membership passed the parliament that month by 204 votes to 145. Ipsos has conducted regular polling, and they have documented a decline in the opposition to membership from 56% in April 2015 to 35% in December 2020, when their poll showed a three-way split among Swedes, with 33% supporting NATO membership and 32% undecided on the issue. The decline largely corresponds to an increase in undecideds, as the percent of Swedes who support NATO membership has stayed mostly steady since 2014. Support for NATO membership previously rose between 2012 and 2015, when the SOM Institute showed it growing from 17% to 31%. Events like the Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, annexation of Crimea and reports of Swedish submarine incidents#After the cold war, Russian submarine activity in 2014, as well as a 2013 report that Sweden could hold out for only a week if attacked were credited with that rise in support. A May 2017 poll by Pew Research Center, Pew also showed that 48% supported membership, and in November 2020, they showed that 65% of Swedes viewed NATO positively, the highest percent of any non-NATO member polled.


Other countries

Austria and Switzerland are both members of the
Partnership for Peace The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernm ...
, and border NATO member states. Malta is also a member of the Partnership for Peace and the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
. However, each country has a long-standing policy of neutrality (international relations), neutrality. Cyprus is the only member state of the European Union that is not a member of the Partnership for Peace, with any treaty blocked by
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
's concerns regarding the Cyprus dispute. According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kosovo), Minister of Foreign Affairs Enver Hoxhaj, integration with NATO is a priority for Kosovo, which 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence, declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Hoxhaj stated in 2014 that the country's goal is to be a NATO member by 2022. However, four Member states of NATO, NATO member states—
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
, and
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to th ...

Slovakia
—do not International recognition of Kosovo, recognize Kosovo's independence. United Nations membership, which Kosovo does not have, is considered to be necessary for NATO membership. In December 2018, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj stated that Kosovo will apply for NATO membership after the formation of the Kosovo Armed Forces.
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
, Armenia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are all members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an alternative military alliance. In 2009, Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozin did not rule out joining NATO at some point, but stated that Russia was currently more interested in leading a coalition as a great power. Azerbaijan has committed to a policy of neutral country, neutrality, but has not ruled out eventually joining NATO. Some individuals have proposed expanding NATO outside of Europe, although doing so would require amending Article 10 of the
North Atlantic Treaty The North Atlantic Treaty, also referred to as the Washington Treaty, is the treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and ...
. Christopher Sands of the Hudson Institute proposed Mexico, Mexican membership of NATO in order to enhance NATO cooperation with Mexico and develop a "North American pillar" for regional security. In June 2013, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos stated his hope that Colombia's cooperation with NATO could result in NATO membership, though his Foreign Minister, Juan Carlos Pinzon, quickly clarified that Colombia is not actively seeking NATO membership. Ivo Daalder and James Goldgeier proposed a "global NATO" that would incorporate democratic states from around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, South Africa, and India, while Republican Party (United States), Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani suggested expanding NATO to include Singapore, Israel, Australia, India, and Japan. On 20 March 2019, US president, Donald Trump said he would make Brazil a major non-NATO ally at a meeting with Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro at the White House. During a joint press conference, President Trump expressed support for the eventual ascension of Brazil into NATO. France however has rejected the proposal claiming Article 10 of the treaty limits geography of membership to European countries, even though French Guiana, an overseas department and region of France, is located in South America as well. On 9 January 2020, Donald Trump mentioned that the alliance should expand into the Middle East to countries like Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Kuwait among others. Internal enlargement is the process of new member states arising from the break-up of or secession from an existing member state. There have been and are a number of List of active separatist movements in Europe, active separatist movements within member states. The Scottish National Party agreed at its NATO debate in the Scottish National Party, conference in 2012 that it wished for Scotland to retain its NATO membership were it to become independent from the United Kingdom.


See also

* Foreign relations of NATO * Individual Partnership Action Plan * Major non-NATO ally * Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe *
Partnership for Peace The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernm ...
* Withdrawal from NATO


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * Goldgeier, James. "NATO Enlargement and the Problem of Value Complexity." ''Journal of Cold War Studies'' (2020) 22#4 pp 146–174 * * * * * * Spohr, Kristina. "Precluded or precedent-setting? The 'NATO enlargement question' in the triangular Bonn-Washington-Moscow diplomacy of 1990–1991." ''Journal of Cold War Studies'' 14.4 (2012): 4-54
online
* * Trachtenberg, Marc.
The United States and the NATO Non-extension Assurances of 1990: New Light on an Old Problem?
''International Security'' 45:3 (2021): 162-203. https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00395 an
online commentary on H-DIPLO 2021
* * * *


Further reading

* Sergey Radchenko (2020).
'Nothing but humiliation for Russia': Moscow and NATO's eastern enlargement, 1993-1995
" ''Journal of Strategic Studies''.


External links



{{DEFAULTSORT:Enlargement Of Nato Enlargement of NATO, Enlargement of intergovernmental organizations