Membership Action Plan (MAP)

  • Last updated: 04 Dec. 2015 09:32

The Membership Action Plan (MAP) is a NATO programme of advice, assistance and practical support tailored to the individual needs of countries wishing to join the Alliance. Participation in the MAP does not prejudge any decision by the Alliance on future membership. Current participants are Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ and Montenegro.

Countries participating in the MAP submit individual annual national programmes on their preparations for possible future membership. These cover political, economic, defence, resource, security and legal aspects.

The MAP process provides a focused and candid feedback mechanism on aspirant countries' progress on their programmes. This includes both political and technical advice, as well as annual meetings between all NATO members and individual aspirants at the level of the North Atlantic Council to assess progress, on the basis of an annual progress report. A key element is the defence planning approach for aspirants, which includes elaboration and review of agreed planning targets.

Throughout the year, meetings and workshops with NATO civilian and military experts in various fields allow for discussion of the entire spectrum of issues relevant to membership.

The MAP was launched in April 1999 at the Alliance’s Washington Summit to help countries aspiring to NATO membership in their preparations. The process drew heavily on the experience gained during the accession process of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, which became members in the Alliance’s first post-Cold War round of enlargement in 1999.

Participation in the MAP

Participation in the MAP helped prepare the seven countries that joined NATO in the second post-Cold War round of enlargement in 2004 (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) as well as Albania and Croatia, which joined in April 2009.

Current participants in the MAP are Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro.

Montenegro was invited to join the MAP in December 2009. At the December 2015 meeting of NATO foreign ministers, the country was invited to start accession talks to join the Alliance.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been participating in the MAP since 1999. At the 2008 Bucharest Summit, Allied leaders agreed to invite the country to become a member as soon as a mutually acceptable solution to the issue over the country’s name has been reached with Greece.

Welcoming progress in the country’s reform efforts, NATO foreign ministers meeting in Tallinn in April 2010 invited Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the MAP. However, the North Atlantic Council – NATO’s highest political decision-making body – will only accept the country’s first annual national programme once an important defence reform issue concerning immovable property has been resolved.


  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.