Updated: 5 October 2000 NATO Basic Texts

Study on

Sept. 1995

Study on NATO Enlargement

Chapter 6 : Modalities according to which the enlargement process should proceed

  1. The modalities for enlargement flow from Article 10 of the Washington Treaty. Previous accessions in accordance with Article 10 need not be considered precise models for future accessions, since the general political and security context of future accessions will be different as well as the number, individual circumstances and characteristics of new acceding members. In this context, a process which is predictable and transparent with respect to new accessions may be required to provide reassurance to public and legislative opinion in existing member states. The modalities for future accession should avoid any suggestion of different classes of membership.

  2. While each invitation to join the Alliance will be decided on its own merits, case by case, the timing of future accessions could be sequential or in one or more simultaneous sets. In any case, it will be important to make clear that the Alliance remains open to further accessions by countries not among the earliest to be invited to join. A declaration at the time of the first invitation(s) being issued which clearly stated this would both reassure those countries that would not be among the first to be invited and reduce the likelihood of some of those countries submitting unsolicited applications to join the Alliance.

  3. The precise timing, sequence and content of the accession process need to be considered carefully, particularly with respect to talks and negotiations with countries to be invited to join. Detailed briefings to provide necessary information to such countries will be needed at an early stage of the accession process, prior to formal negotiations. The NAC will decide on beginning any necessary exploratory contacts, after which the following steps would be required for any future accession to the Washington Treaty :

    • a decision by the NAC (at an appropriate level) to authorize the Secretary General to inform a country/countries that the Allies are favourably disposed to its/their accession, and to enter into talks with it/them;

    • a formal notification from the country/countries to the Secretary General of its/their firm commitment, in accordance with domestic legal requirements, to join the Alliance;

    • detailed consultations with the country/countries concerned about the protocol of accession;

    • formulation by the Allies of the protocol of accession;

    • approval and signature of the accession protocol by the NAC;

    • ratification, acceptance or approval of the accession protocol by the Allies and entry into force;

    • formal invitation to the country/countries to accede to the North Atlantic Treaty;

    • deposition by the country/countries of its/their instrument(s) of accession with the U.S. Government.

    It may not be feasible for countries invited to join to provide assurances that all domestic requirements for it/them to do so have been met together with formal notification of its/their desire to join. Precision may therefore be required on this point. It will be important, however, to avoid legislative ratification procedures for new accessions going forward in existing Allied countries without assurance that the country concerned wants to and will accede.

  4. It will need to be decided to what extent preparations for membership by countries can be undertaken before formal accession or whether many of these can be left until after formal accession. When to deal with budgetary and administrative issues will need to be decided. Consultations regarding accession with any country concerned should not delay those with any other, i.e. the pace of movement towards accession by a number of invited countries should not be dictated by that of the slowest.

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