Membership Action Plan (MAP)

  • Last updated: 18 Feb. 2019 11:42

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 and the Republic of North Macedonia.

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. Montenegro, which joined the MAP in December 2009, became a member of the Alliance in June 2017.

Current participants in the MAP are Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of North Macedonia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina was invited to join the MAP in 2010.  At the time, Allied foreign ministers called on the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to resolve a key issue concerning the registration of immovable defence property to the state. At their meeting in December 2018, foreign ministers decided that NATO is ready to accept the submission of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first Annual National Programme under the MAP.  The registration of immovable defence property to the state remains essential.

The Republic of North Macedonia (previously known as 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 was reached with Greece. Following a historic agreement between Athens and Skopje on the name issue, Allies invited the country to start accession talks in 2018 and the Accession Protocol was signed on 6 February 2019. Once the Protocol has been ratified in the capitals of each of the 29 Allies, according to national procedures, the country will become a member of NATO. (On 15 February, the Republic of North Macedonia was officially recognised by its constitutional name, marking the full implementation of the agreement between Athens and Skopje.)