Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the process of including new member states in NATO.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949.
The North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949, is the treaty establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
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NATO is a military alliance of twenty-six European and two North American countries that constitutes a system of collective defense.
Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement, political, regional, or global, in which each state in the system accepts that the security of one is the concern of all, and therefore commits to a collective response to threats to, and breaches to peace.
A military alliance is an international agreement concerning national security, when the contracting parties promise to support each other in case of a crisis that has not been identified in advance.
North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere.
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The process of joining the alliance is governed by Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, 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, NATO's governing body.
After its formation in 1949 with twelve founding members, NATO grew by including Greece and Turkey in 1952 and West Germany in 1955, and then later Spain in 1982.
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a sovereign state largely located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, with archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, and several small territories on and near the North African coast.
Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental parliamentary republic in Eurasia, mainly on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe.
West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation on 23 May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990.
After the Cold War ended, and Germany reunited in 1990, there was a debate in NATO about continued expansion eastward.
The German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany to form the reunited nation of Germany, and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23.
The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc and powers in the Eastern Bloc.
In 1999, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic joined the organization, amid much debate within the organization and Russian opposition.
The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is a nation state in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast.
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe, situated between the Baltic Sea in the north and two mountain ranges in the south.
Another expansion came with the accession of seven Central and Eastern European countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Central and Eastern Europe, abbreviated CEE, is a generic term for the group of countries in Central Europe, Southeast Europe, Northern Europe, and Eastern Europe, usually meaning former communist states in Europe.
Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia, is a nation state in southern Central Europe, located at the crossroads of main European cultural and trade routes.
These nations were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, and joined NATO shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit.
The 2002 Prague summit was a NATO summit held at the Prague Congress Center where the heads of state and government of the NATO member states met.
The 2004 Istanbul summit was held in Istanbul, Turkey from June 28 to June 29, 2004.
The most recent new members, Albania and Croatia, joined on 1 April 2009, prior to the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit.
Albania, officially the Republic of Albania, is a country in Southeast Europe, bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south and southeast.
The 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl Summit was a NATO summit of heads of state and heads of government held in Strasbourg, France, and in Kehl and Baden-Baden, Germany, on 3–4 April 2009.
In 2011, NATO officially recognized four aspiring members: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, and Montenegro.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or Bosnia & Herzegovina, abbreviated BiH or B&H, and, in short, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe located on the Balkan Peninsula.
Macedonia has been prevented from joining the alliance by Greece, one effect of the Macedonian naming dispute, while Montenegro's membership is in the process of being ratified by current members.
Future expansion is currently a topic of debate in several countries outside the alliance, and countries like Sweden, Finland and Serbia have open political debate on the topic of membership, while in countries like Ukraine, support and opposition to membership is tied to ethnic and nationalist ideologies.
Ukraine is a sovereign state in Eastern Europe, bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland and Slovakia to the west, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively.
Serbia, officially the Republic of Serbia, is a sovereign state situated at the crossroads between Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans.
The incorporation of countries formerly in the Eastern Bloc has been a cause of increased tension between NATO countries and Russia.
The Eastern Bloc was the group of communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact.