NATO Foreign Ministers mark historic accession anniversaries of 1999, 2004, 2009
NATO Foreign Ministers highlighted the historic success of the Alliance’s Open Door policy on Tuesday (1 April 2014) by marking three significant anniversaries which have improved security and stability across Europe since the end of the Cold War. Fifteen years ago, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia became Alliance members 10 years ago and five years have passed since the accession of Albania and Croatia.
“NATO’s open door policy has been one of the great success stories of our time. Alongside the enlargement of the European Union, it has helped to erase many of the painful dividing lines on our continent and to bring us much closer to our longstanding goal of a Europe whole, free and at peace,” said Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The ministers from all 28 Allied nations gathered for a special family photo to commemorate the anniversaries and to congratulate their counterparts from the Allies that are celebrating their anniversaries this year. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said that the Alliance’s door remains open “to all European democracies which share our values, which can assume the responsibilities of membership and which can contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area.”
He added that the Ukraine crisis risks creating new dividing lines in Europe and it calls into question the principles upon which modern Europe is built – territorial integrity, international law and the right of sovereign states to choose their own fate.
“By standing up for these principles, we have helped to spread freedom, peace and stability across Europe. We have healed the divisions of the past and overcome conflicts which lasted generations,” he said. The Secretary General stressed that NATO will continue to stand by Ukraine, “to stand up for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our partners and we continue to safeguard the freedom and security of our Allies so that our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace prevails.”