|General Assembly of the North Atlantic Council at the Prague Summit (Copyright NATO)|
The Prague Summit on 21-22 November 2002 signalled the opening of a new chapter in NATO's history. Seven countries were invited to join the alliance and decisions were taken to transform the alliance to meet the new threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. NATO also revitalised its relationship with Russia and with other Partners to the east and south.
The UK and NATO Enlargement
On 29 March 2004 Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia became members of NATO. Each had participated in the Membership Action Plan (MAP), adopted at the 1999 Washington Summit as a way of reinforcing Allies' commitment to further enlargement of NATO. The UK demonstrated its commitment to helping all seven with practical assistance to prepare them for membership. FCO and MOD programmes included English language training, secondment of military and civilian advisors to Ministries of Defence and General Staffs, promotion of interoperability through visits, and exercises and staff training in the UK.
|Map of Europe, showing existing NATO Allies, Invitees and Aspirants (IMG, 151K)|
The Road to NATO
The seven countries were invited to join the Alliance at the NATO Summit in Prague in November 2002.
From December 2002 to March 2003, a series of meetings were held between NATO and the individual invitees to discuss and formally confirm their interest, willingness and ability to meet the political, legal and military obligations and commitments of NATO membership.
On 26 March 2003, NATO Ambassadors signed accession protocols and the legislative of each Ally began the process of ratification. On 23 October 2003, the UK became the fifth member-state to ratify the accession protocol. In the first months of 2004 the parliaments of each of the seven countries ratified the North Atlantic Treaty, and the seven became members of NATO when they simultaneously deposited their legal instruments on 29 March 2004.
Croatia, Albania, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are still engaged in the Membership Action Plan (MAP). This consists of each country entering a process of reform and development with the objective of joining the Alliance as a full member. The UK and other NATO Allies are continuing to offer assistance, and the UK looks forward to seeing in these three countries a progress similar to that seen in the seven who have joined this year - all of whom benefited greatly from the MAP.
|Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty on the Accession of the Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, Romania, the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Slovenia (PDF, 187K)|
The United Kingdom in NATO
The Foreign Office has produced a leaflet accompanying an exhibition organised by the UK Delegation to NATO in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence, held in NATO Headquarters 18-28 March 2003. The exhibition is currently touring the NATO Invitees.
|The United Kingdom in NATO (PDF, 1.2Mb)|