Membership Action Plan (MAP)

  • Last updated: 28 Mar. 2024 15:40

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. Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently participating.

32 flags at NATO headquarters in Brussels

Upon decision of the North Atlantic Council, countries participate in the MAP by submitting 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 Czechia, 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. The Republic of North Macedonia, which had been participating in the MAP since 1999, joined NATO in March 2020.

Currently, Bosnia and Herzegovina is participating in the MAP, having been invited to do so 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.