Updated: 27-Jan-2000 NATO Basic Texts

Sept. 1995

Study on NATO Enlargement

Chapter 1 : Purposes and Principles of Enlargement

A. Purposes of Enlargement

  1. With the end of the Cold War, there is a unique opportunity to build an improved security architecture in the whole of the Euro-Atlantic area. The aim of an improved security architecture is to provide increased stability and security for all in the Euro-Atlantic area, without recreating dividing lines. NATO views security as a broad concept embracing political and economic, as well as defence, components. Such a broad concept of security should be the basis for the new security architecture which must be built through a gradual process of integration and cooperation brought about by an interplay of existing multilateral institutions in Europe, such as the EU, WEU and OSCE, each of which would have a role to play in accordance with its respective responsibilities and purposes in implementing this broad security concept. In this process, which is already well under way, the Alliance has played and will play a strong, active and essential role as one of the cornerstones of stability and security in Europe. NATO remains a purely defensive Alliance whose fundamental purpose is to preserve peace in the Euro-Atlantic area and to provide security for its members.

  2. When NATO invites other European countries to become Allies, as foreseen in Article 10 of the Washington Treaty and reaffirmed at the January 1994 Brussels Summit, this will be a further step towards the Alliance's basic goal of enhancing security and stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic area, within the context of a broad European security architecture. NATO enlargement will extend to new members the benefits of common defence and integration into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. The benefits of common defence and such integration are important to protecting the further democratic development of new members. By integrating more countries into the existing community of values and institutions, consistent with the objectives of the Washington Treaty and the London Declaration, NATO enlargement will safeguard the freedom and security of all its members in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter. Meeting NATO's fundamental security goals and supporting the integration of new members into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions are thus complementary goals of the enlargement process, consistent with the Alliance's strategic concept.

  3. Therefore, enlargement will contribute to enhanced stability and security for all countries in the Euro-Atlantic area by :

    • Encouraging and supporting democratic reforms, including civilian and democratic control over the military;
    • Fostering in new members of the Alliance the patterns and habits of cooperation, consultation and consensus building which characterize relations among current Allies;
    • Promoting good-neighbourly relations, which would benefit all countries in the Euro-Atlantic area, both members and non-members of NATO;
    • Emphasizing common defence and extending its benefits and increasing transparency in defence planning and military budgets, thereby reducing the likelihood of instability that might be engendered by an exclusively national approach to defence policies;
    • Reinforcing the tendency toward integration and cooperation in Europe based on shared democratic values and thereby curbing the countervailing tendency towards disintegration along ethnic and territorial lines;
    • Strengthening the Alliance's ability to contribute to European and international security, including through peacekeeping activities under the responsibility of the OSCE and peacekeeping operations under the authority of the UN Security Council as well as other new missions;
    • Strengthening and broadening the Trans-Atlantic partnership.

B. Principles of enlargement

  1. Enlargement of the Alliance will be through accession of new member states to the Washington Treaty. Enlargement should :

    • Accord with, and help to promote, the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and the safeguarding of the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of all Alliance members and their people, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. New members will need to conform to these basic principles;

    • Accord strictly with Article 10 of the Washington Treaty which states that "the parties may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty ...";

    • Be on the basis that new members will enjoy all the rights and assume all obligations of membership under the Washington Treaty; and accept and conform with the principles, policies and procedures adopted by all members of the Alliance at the time that new members join;

    • Strengthen the Alliance's effectiveness and cohesion; and preserve the Alliance's political and military capability to perform its core functions of common defence as well as to undertake peacekeeping and other new missions;

    • Be part of a broad European security architecture based on true cooperation throughout the whole of Europe. It would threaten no-one; and enhance stability and security for all of Europe;

    • Take account of the continuing important role of PfP, which will both help prepare interested partners, through their participation in PfP activities, for the benefits and responsibilities of eventual membership and serve as a means to strengthen relations with partner countries which may be unlikely to join the Alliance early or at all. Active participation in the Partnership for Peace will play an important role in the evolutionary process of the enlargement of NATO;

    • Complement the enlargement of the European Union, a parallel process which also, for its part, contributes significantly to extending security and stability to the new democracies in the East.

  2. New members, at the time that they join, must commit themselves, as all current Allies do on the basis of the Washington Treaty, to:

    • unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security; settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations;

    • contribute to the development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being;

    • maintain the effectiveness of the Alliance by sharing roles, risks, responsibilities, costs and benefits of assuring common security goals and objectives.

  3. States which have ethnic disputes or external territorial disputes, including irredentist claims, or internal jurisdictional disputes must settle those disputes by peaceful means in accordance with OSCE principles. Resolution of such disputes would be a factor in determining whether to invite a state to join the Alliance.

  4. Decisions on enlargement will be for NATO itself. Enlargement will occur through a gradual, deliberate, and transparent process, encompassing dialogue with all interested parties. There is no fixed or rigid list of criteria for inviting new member states to join the Alliance. Enlargement will be decided on a case-by-case basis and some nations may attain membership before others. New members should not be admitted or excluded on the basis of belonging to some group or category. Ultimately, Allies will decide by consensus whether to invite each new member to join according to their judgment of whether doing so will contribute to security and stability in the North Atlantic area at the time such a decision is to be made. NATO enlargement would proceed in accordance with the provisions of the various OSCE documents which confirm the sovereign right of each state to freely seek its own security arrangements, to belong or not to belong to international organisations, including treaties of alliance. No country outside the Alliance should be given a veto or droit de regard over the process and decisions.

  5. NATO's collective defence arrangements, as described in paragraphs 47 and 48, are a concrete expression of Allies' commitment to maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack. Against the background of existing arrangements for contributing to collective defence, Allies will want to know how possible new members intend to contribute to NATO's collective defence and will explore all aspects of this question in detail through bilateral dialogue prior to accession negotiations.