NATO Enlargement: Albania, Croatia, and Possible Future Candidates
NATO Enlargement: Albania, Croatia,
and Possible Future Candidates
October 6, 2008
Vincent Morelli, Coordinator,
Paul Belkin, Carl Ek, Jim Nichol, and Steven Woehrel
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
NATO Enlargement: Albania, Croatia,
and Possible Future Candidates
At the April 2-4, 2008, NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, a principal issue
was consideration of the candidacies for membership of Albania, Croatia, and
Macedonia. The allies agreed to extend invitations to Albania and Croatia. Although
the alliance determined that Macedonia met the qualifications for NATO
membership, Greece blocked the invitation due to an enduring dispute over
Macedonia’s name. After formal accession talks, on July 9, 2008, the foreign
ministers of Albania and Croatia and the permanent representatives of the current 26
NATO allies signed accession protocols amending the North Atlantic Treaty to
permit Albania and Croatia’s membership in NATO. To take effect, the protocols
must now be ratified, first by current NATO members, then by Albania and Croatia.
Albania and Croatia are small states with correspondingly small militaries, and their
inclusion in NATO cannot be considered militarily strategic. However, it is possible
that their membership could play a political role in stabilizing southeastern Europe.
Another issue debated at the Bucharest summit was NATO’s future enlargement
and the question of offering Membership Action Plans (MAP) to Georgia and
Ukraine. The MAP is generally viewed by allies and aspiring alliance members as
a way station to membership. However, it is not an invitation to join NATO, and it
does not formally guarantee future membership. The Bush Administration supports
granting MAPs to Georgia and Ukraine. Both the Senate and House passed
resolutions in the 110th Congress urging NATO to enter into MAPs with Georgia and
Ukraine (S.Res. 439 and H.Res. 997, respectively). Despite strong U.S. support, the
allies decided after much debate not to offer MAPs to Georgia and Ukraine at
Bucharest. Opponents cited internal separatist conflicts in Georgia, public opposition
to membership in Ukraine, and Russia’s strong objection to the two countries’
eventual membership as factors influencing their opposition. The allies pledged that
Georgia and Ukraine would eventually become NATO members but did not specify
when this might happen. They also agreed to review the MAP issue at the NATO
foreign ministers ministerial in December 2008. The August 2008 conflict between
Georgia and Russia has placed the membership prospects of Georgia and Ukraine
and the future of NATO-Russia relations at the forefront of NATO discussions.
Congress has passed legislation over the past 15 years, including in the 110th
Congress, indicating its support for NATO enlargement, as long as candidate states
meet qualifications for alliance membership. On April 9, 2007, President Bush signed
into law the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007 (P.L.110-17), expressing
support for further NATO enlargement. On September 10, 2008, the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee held a hearing on the accession of Albania and Croatia as a
prelude to Senate ratification. For states to be admitted, the Senate must pass a
resolution of ratification by a two-thirds majority to amend NATO’s founding treaty
and commit the United States to defend new geographic space. The potential cost
of enlargement was a factor in the debate over NATO enlargement in the mid- and
late-1990s. However, the costs of the current round are expected to be minimal.
This report will be updated as needed. See also CRS Report RL31915, NATO
Enlargement: Senate Advice and Consent, by Michael John Garcia.
In troduction ......................................................1
The Candidate States...............................................5
Public Support for NATO Membership.........................6
Defense Reforms and Ability to Contribute to Allied Missions......6
Public Support for NATO Membership........................10
Defense Reform and Ability to Contribute to Allied Missions......10
Domestic Political Issues...................................12
Defense Reform and Capacity to Contribute to Allied Missions.....13
Future Candidates for Future Rounds?................................18
Ukrainian Public Opinion and NATO Membership..............21
Lack of Unity Within NATO on a MAP for Ukraine.............22
Outcomes, Prospects, and Russia’s Reaction.......................22
Appendix. Legislation on Enlargement in the 109th and 110th Congresses.....31
List of Figures
Figure 1. Europe.................................................34
NATO Enlargement: Albania, Croatia,
and Possible Future Candidates
On April 2-4, 2008, NATO held a summit in Bucharest, Romania. A principal
issue was consideration of the candidacies for membership of Albania, Croatia, and2
the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The allies issued
invitations to join the alliance to Albania and Croatia. Greece blocked an invitation
to Macedonia because of a dispute over Macedonia’s name. The invitations initiate
the third round of enlargement in the post-Cold War era. In 1997, NATO invited
Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to join the alliance; they were admitted in
Slovenia, and Slovakia to join the alliance; they were admitted in 2004. These last
two rounds of enlargement were “strategic” in the sense that the new members’
territory lay in regions that Russia once deemed critical to its own national interest,
and in the sense that the region had been intensely involved in conflict for much of
modern European history. In addition, several of these countries are sizeable, with
considerable armed forces and significant resources.
Albania and Croatia are small countries, with correspondingly small militaries.
Croatia was part of the former Yugoslavia, a communist state that kept the Soviet
Union at arms’ length and had reasonably friendly relations with the west. Albania,
also once a communist state during the Cold War, was for many years the most
isolated country in Europe. With the collapse of Yugoslavia and the end of the Cold
War, the countries put themselves on the path to democracy and made commitments
to join western institutions. The two countries have aspirations to join the European
Union as well as NATO. Albania and Croatia, in the sense of their military
importance and their general resources, would not represent a “strategic” presence
in the alliance, although their consistent contributions to NATO operations have been
lauded. However, due to the continuing instability in the region, further stirred by
Serbia’s and Russia’s sharply negative reaction to Kosovo’s independence, the two
countries are a potential factor for stabilization in southeastern Europe.
Today, NATO’s purpose extends well beyond the mission of collective defense
of the Cold War era. Although collective defense remains a core function, the allies
1 This report was originally conceived and coordinated by former CRS analyst Paul Gallis.
This and the following section were prepared by Paul Belkin, Analyst in European Affairs,
and Vince Morelli, Section Research Manager, Europe and the Americas Section.
2 The country’s name is in dispute. It will henceforth be referred to as “Macedonia” for the
sake of simplicity only. The United States government recognizes the country by its official
name, the “Republic of Macedonia.”
now undertake missions against terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction. A global military reach is necessary for such missions. The Bush
Administration has pressed the allies to develop more mobile forces, ones able to
deploy over long distances and sustain themselves. Some of the member states, such
as Albania and Croatia are expected to develop “niche” capabilities, such as special
forces or troops able to contain a chemical weapons attack. NATO has also
developed a collective security mission, such as its stabilization and peacekeeping
operation in Kosovo.
Several allied governments believe that the overall pace of NATO enlargement
is too compressed and wish to consider first how to resolve a complex range of
issues. These governments tend to argue that other issues — the calming of
nationalist emotions in Serbia, an overall improvement in NATO-Russian relations,
and coming to grips with the wide-ranging problems in energy security — must first
be resolved before considering new countries for membership.3
The Washington Treaty of 1949, NATO’s founding instrument, does not
describe detailed qualifications for membership. It does require that member states
be democracies and follow the rule of law. It also requires that they take steps to
strengthen their militaries and refrain from the use of force in settling disputes
outside the treaty framework. Article X of the Treaty leaves the door open to any
states able to meet the general qualifications for membership, including a
contribution to the security of member states. The process by which governments
interested in membership may join has been refined since the end of the Cold War.
In 1994 NATO established the Partnership for Peace (PfP), a program in which non-
member states might train with NATO forces, participate in peacekeeping or other
allied activities, and seek avenues to draw closer to the alliance. Some countries,
such as Austria, participate in the PfP program but are not necessarily interested in
In 1995 NATO published a Study on NATO Enlargement.4 The report remains
the most detailed public roadmap for governments wishing to enter NATO. It
describes the need for candidate states to develop democratic structures and a market
economy, respect human rights and the rights of ethnic minorities, and build a
military capable of contributing to collective defense. In the 1995 study, NATO
included other requirements, principally the need to settle all disputes, such as border
demarcations, with neighboring countries. The Balkan conflicts of the 1990s gave
this requirement special significance. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO
has also become a collective security as well as a collective defense organization.
Prospective members must develop military forces trained for peacekeeping and
state-building, as well as for collective defense.
3 Interviews with European officials, January-February 2008.
4 NATO, Study on NATO Enlargement, Brussels, September 1995. Available at
[http://www.nato.int/docu/ basictxt/enl-9501.htm] .
After the admission of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in 1999, the
allies, led by the United States, developed a more detailed process for prospective
members. This process, called the Membership Action Plan (MAP), lays out in
considerable detail specific steps that a government must follow to become a
member. Such steps might include laws designating its parliament as having civilian
oversight of the military, or the downsizing and professionalization of a large
military, or the settlement of a border dispute with a neighbor. Each country’s MAP
is classified, as is its evaluation by the allies. During the 2003-2004 round of
enlargement, the MAP was made available to the United States Senate for review.
Some allies have criticized the MAP process. They contend that it is primarily
a creation of the United States and that the ultimate decision on whether MAP
requirements are met is made principally in Washington. They say, for example, that
the full range of qualifications outlined in the MAP in the 2003 round of enlargement
was not adequately assessed for several states that became members of the alliance.
They contend, therefore, that designation of candidate states as prospective members
is above all a political process and that actual accomplishment of requirements is
secondary to the will of the alliance’s leader. U.S. officials dispute this
charact eri z at i on. 5
For a candidate state to have been invited to join the alliance at Bucharest,
consensus among the 26 member governments was necessary to approve an
invitation. Each candidate was considered separately. One or more votes against a
state would have blocked that state’s progress to the next stage in the process of
becoming a member. It was Greece’s opposition to Macedonia that resulted in
Skopje’s failure to obtain an invitation. In March 2008, Greek Prime Minister
Karamanlis said, “No solution — no invitation.”6 There were other issues under
discussion as well. According to some officials in allied states, Albania and
Macedonia continue to have problems of governance and issues detrimental to
internal political comity. At the same time, the two governments have evidently made
considerable progress in military reform, and their populations overwhelmingly
support NATO membership. Croatia has a settled political environment. A
somewhat narrow majority of its population supports NATO membership; support
has been rising in recent months.7 These issues are more fully discussed below.
The member states had hoped to make a preliminary determination about
invitations at a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting on March 6, 2008, but resolution
of the issue surrounding Macedonia’s name, and other issues, prevented a collective
decision. At least two governments, France and Germany, expressed reservations
5 Interviews with officials from allied governments, 2003-2008.
6 Statement of Prime Minister Karamanlis, Athens, March 2, 2008.
7 Interviews with officials from allied states, February-March 2008. A March 2008 poll
showed that 59.3% of the population supports NATO membership. The figure had been
below 50% until late 2007. “Latest Poll Shows Nearly 60% of Croats Support NATO
Membership,” BBC Monitoring European service, March 10, 2008.
about offering the MAP to Georgia and Ukraine. At Bucharest, other governments
such as Spain and Italy shared the French and German view.8
After issuing official invitations to Albania and Croatia at the Bucharest
summit, on July 9, 2008, the allies signed accession protocols for their entry into
NATO. The protocols outline NATO’s expectations of the two prospective
members. The protocols have been deposited with each allied government. Member
governments will go through their constitutional processes to amend the Washington
Treaty and admit a new state or states.
In some member states, such as the United Kingdom, the government has the
authority to determine whether the executive alone may decide to admit a state
nominated for entry, or instead, if issues of broad significance are involved, may send
the protocol to parliament for approval. At the other end of the spectrum, the
Netherlands has a meticulous, time-consuming process involving a parliamentary
study and debate before a final vote is taken. NATO hopes to admit prospective
candidate states at its 60th anniversary summit, to be held on the French-German
border, scheduled for April 2009.9
The United States Senate has the constitutional authority to give its advice and
consent by a two-thirds majority to the amendment of any treaty. In the case of
NATO enlargement, it must decide whether to amend the Washington Treaty to
commit the United States to defend additional geographic territory. The Senate
Foreign Relations Committee is the committee that holds the initial authority to
consider the issue.10 Both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the full
Senate may decide whether to vote on each candidate state separately or all together.
During the previous two rounds of enlargement, House and Senate committees held
hearings on enlargement. One purpose of the hearings is to create more widespread
knowledge of possibly pending new obligations of the United States government. In
the past, committees have also discussed such issues as the costs of enlargement, the
qualifications of the candidate states, regional security implications of enlargement,
implications for relations with Russia, and new issues in NATO’s future, such as the
viability of new missions.
On September 10, 2008, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing
on the accession of Albania and Croatia to NATO. In his opening remarks, Senator
Dodd, acting Chairman of the Committee, congratulated both candidates for the
progress they had made in attempting to secure NATO membership and stated that
both Albania and Croatia would be a force for stability in the Balkans. He reminded
the committee that “to undertake a commitment to mutual defense is one of the more
serious steps any government can take. Therefore we must consider ... the nature of
8 “L’OTAN tempère les espoirs d’adhésion de la Géorgie et de l’Ukraine,” Le Monde,
March 7, 2008; interviews of European officials, February 2008.
9 Remarks by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Schefer at the Protocol signing
ceremony, July 9, 2008.
10 For a detailed discussion of Senate action during all the past rounds of enlargement, see
CRS Report RL31915, NATO Enlargement: Senate Advice and Consent, by Michael John
the allies we are embracing.”11 Senator Dodd was particularly interested in whether
both candidates had achieved acceptable levels of reform in the areas of democratic
election, rule of law, treatment of minorities, economic development, civilian control
of the military, and the resolution of all territorial disputes with their neighbors.
Appearing before the Committee, Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for
European and Eurasian Affairs, stated that both Albania and Croatia had made
“enormous steps forward in becoming stable democracies and instituting significant
reforms” in many of the areas highlighted by Senator Dodd.12
The Candidate States
Al bani a 13
Albania was one of the first
countries in central and eastern EuropeAlbania at a Glance
to seek NATO membership after the fall
of communism in the region in 1989-Population: 3.6 million (2007 est.)
1991. Albania’s membership candidacy
has been evaluated by the allies using aEthnic Composition: 95% Albanian,
number of criteria, such as the state of3% Greek, 2% others (1989 est.)
its political and economic reforms,
public support for NATO membership,Total Area: 28,748 sq. km. (slightly
defense reforms and ability tosmaller than Maryland)
contribute to allied missions, andGross Domestic Product: $11.2 billion
Albania’s role in its region. However,(2007 est.)
NATO’s decision on Albania’s
candidacy was in the end a politicalDefense Budget: $208 million (2007)
judgment of NATO member states on
whether Albania’s membership wouldActive Duty Armed Forces: 11,020
contribute to their security.
Sources: 2008 CIA World Factbook; Military
Domestic Reforms. MostBalance 2008; Forecast International
observers believe that the main
challenges to Albania’s candidacy are
questions about the pace of its political reforms. Albania’s current government is led
by the center-right Democratic Party of Albania (DPA), which formed a coalition
with several smaller parties after the country’s 2005 parliamentary elections. The
government is led by longtime DPA leader and Prime Minister Sali Berisha. In the
past, Berisha has often been criticized for having a harsh and uncompromising
leadership style, although observers have noted that he has tried to moderate this
image since the 2005 elections.
11 Opening statement of Senator Dodd, Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing
“Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty,” September 10, 2008.
12 Testimony of Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, “Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty,” September 10, 2008.
13 Prepared by Steven Woehrel, Specialist in European Affairs.
Since its first multiparty election in 1991, Albanian politics have been marked
by fierce political conflict between parties and factional struggles within them. In
Berisha’s previous tenure as Prime Minister, public order collapsed completely for
several months in 1997 after the failure of financial pyramid schemes. Since 1991,
both the DPA and the other chief Albanian party, the Socialist Party of Albania, have
lost elections and refused to concede defeat, charging fraud. Indeed, the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has often assessed the quality of
Albanian elections as not fully meeting international standards, including an OSCE
report after the 2005 vote. Local elections in February 2007 also fell short of
international standards, according to the OSCE, although Albania’s record has
gradually improved. U.S. and EU leaders have often called on Albania’s leaders to
show greater civility in their political struggles and to work together to prepare the
country for Euro-Atlantic integration.14
Aside from the issue of political civility, Albania has significant legal and
institutional shortcomings. Two key issues cited by U.S., NATO, and Albanian
leaders themselves are electoral reform and judicial reform.15 The Albanian
parliament is drafting new legislation on these issues, but progress has been slow.
Moreover, observers note that passing laws is one thing; implementing them
effectively is another.
Other Albanian reform efforts have focused on fighting organized crime and
corruption, perhaps among the most serious challenges the country faces. Some of
Europe’s most powerful crime organizations are based in or have strong links to
Albania.16 In Transparency International’s 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index,
Albania ranked 105th out of 175 countries, with the worst showing in central Europe.
U.S. officials stress that anti-corruption policies must be followed up with effective
investigations and prosecutions. They say Albania should make more progress in
strengthening the independence of its prosecutors and judiciary.17
Public Support for NATO Membership. Public support in Albania for the
country’s membership in NATO is very high, with public opinion polls showing as
many as 96% of those polled in favor. All major Albanian political parties across the
political spectrum favor NATO membership.
Defense Reforms and Ability to Contribute to Allied Missions.
Albania has made significant progress in military reforms. However, the country’s
small size and poverty will likely prevent it from making a large contribution to the
alliance’s military capabilities. With the assistance of the United States and other
NATO countries, Albania is trying to develop a small, efficient, well-trained force
that can operate effectively with NATO. The current strength of Albania’s armed
14 Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Report: Albania, December 2007.
15 “Further Reform Necessary in Albania, Says NATO Secretary General,” October 19,
16 Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment: The Balkans, January 31, 2008.
17 Testimony of Daniel Fried before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 10,
forces is 11,020 troops. By the time the country’s restructuring effort is over in 2010,
it will comprise about 10,000 men. Albania is devoting a significant share of its
meager resources to defense spending. Albania’s 2007 defense budget was $208
million, representing about 1.8% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In 2008, Albania will spend 2.01% of GDP on defense, just above the 2%
recommended by NATO for member states, although achieved by only seven of the
As in the case of the previous round of enlargement, NATO has encouraged
candidate states to develop “niche” capabilities to assist NATO missions. Albania
has focused on creating a Rapid Reaction Brigade, military police, special operations
forces, explosive ordnance disposal teams, engineers, and medical support units.
Albania says it plans to have 40% of its land forces ready for international missions.
Eight percent of the total forces would be deployable at any one time, and the
remaining would be available for rotations, according to Albanian officials.19
Independent assessments of Albania’s reform progress note that the country is
committed to carrying out these reforms, despite facing severe practical and financial
Albanian leaders contend that their country has already acted for years as a de
facto NATO ally. Albanian forces participated in SFOR, the NATO-led peacekeeping
force in Bosnia, and are part of the current EU force there. Albania has deployed a
company-sized force of about 140 men as part of ISAF, the NATO-led stabilization
force in Afghanistan. It has deployed a military medical team to ISAF jointly with
Macedonia and Croatia. Currently 240 Albanian troops are serving as part of the
U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.
Albanian defense officials concede that Albania will continue to need bilateral
assistance for some time to be able to participate in international missions. Much of
its hardware comes as a result of international donations, and it lacks sufficient
logistical capabilities, which require the assistance of allied countries when Albania’s
forces are deployed abroad.21
On March 15, 2008, a massive blast at an Albanian army ammunition dump at
Gerdec killed 26 persons, injured over 300 others, and destroyed more than 400
homes. The incident took place during efforts to dispose of the country’s huge
stockpile of communist-era artillery shells, with the help of a U.S. contractor.
Albanian Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu resigned after the incident, and three
18 Forecast International report on Albania, February 2008; Presentation of Albanian
Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu, at the Atlantic Council of the United States, February 19,
19 Presentation of Albanian Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu at the Atlantic Council,
February 19, 2008.
20 Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment: The Balkans, November 15, 2007.
21 NATO Parliamentary Assembly, The Three Adriatic Aspirants: Capabilities and
Preparations, 2007, from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly website, [http://www.nato-
persons have been charged with negligence. The investigation into the explosion is
still ongoing. In September 2008, Kosta Trebica, a key witness in the case, was
killed, reportedly in an automobile accident.22
Some observers have argued the incident may show weaknesses in the
professionalism and competence in Albania’s government and defense establishment,
as well as the lack of an independent judiciary. U.S. Ambassador to Albania John
Withers has been critical of apparent efforts by some in Albania’s parliament to
influence the investigation. Withers has repeatedly stressed that the prosecutor must
be allowed to proceed with the case free from political influence.
Regional Issues. Albania has no outstanding territorial issues with its
neighbors. Albania was one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo’s
independence after the former Serbian province declared it on February 17, 2008.
This has increased tensions in its relations with Serbia. Albanian leaders have
repeatedly said that they do not support merging their country with Kosovo and
ethnic Albanian-majority parts of Macedonia in a “Greater Albania.” Indeed, U.S.
and EU officials often praise Albania for its moderate stance on the Kosovo issue.
Since 2003, Albania has participated with Croatia and Macedonia in the U.S.-
sponsored Adriatic Charter, which promotes cooperation among the three countries
in defense reforms and other areas in order to boost their NATO membership
prospects. Albania participates in other regional fora, including the Southeast Europe
Defense Ministerial (SEDM) and the Southeastern Europe Brigade (SEEBRIG).
Albanian officials say that their membership in NATO will stabilize the region
by anchoring the alliance more firmly in southeastern Europe. Membership would
also give pause to extremist forces in Serbia, they say. Moreover, they contend that
it will encourage pro-western forces in Serbia, showing that if they follow the course
of the Adriatic Charter countries, their country too can be part of the Euro-Atlantic
22 Trebica was also involved in another case, which involved the shipment of poor-quality
Chinese ammunition (falsely repackaged as Albanian-produced) to Afghanistan under a U.S.
Army contract. The U.S. contractor in the case has been charged with fraud in the United
States. Last year, Trebica recorded a conversation with the contractor, in which he
complained about high-level corruption in Albania. C.J. Chivers, “Supplier Under Scrutiny
on Aging Arms for Afghans,” New York Times, March 27, 2008.
Cr oati a 23
NATO countries evaluated Croatia’s
request to join the alliance using aCroatia at a Glance
number of criteria, such as the state of its
political and economic reforms, publicPopulation: 4.49 million (2007 est.)
support for membership, progress on
defense reforms and ability to contributeEthnic Composition: 89.6% Croat,
to allied missions, and whether Croatia4.5% Serb, 5.9% other (2001)
plays a positive role in its region. In the
final analysis, however, NATO memberTotal Area: 56,542 sq. km. (slightly
states made a political judgement onsmaller than West Virginia)
whether Croatia’s membership willGross Domestic Product: $50.96
contribute to their security.billion (2007 est.)
Domestic Reforms. Croatia’sMilitary Budget: $875 million (2007)
progress on political and economic
reforms is generally considered to be veryActive Duty Armed Forces: 17,660
good and does not appear to be an
obstacle to its NATO candidacy. CroatiaSources: 2008 CIA World Factbook; Military
has been conducting membershipBalance 2008; Forecast International
negotiations with the European Union
since October 2005. In its November
2007 progress report on Croatia’s candidacy, the European Commission found that
Croatia has met the political criteria for EU membership. The report praised the
progress Croatia has made in reforming its judiciary and fighting corruption.
However, it said that Croatia must still make more progress on these issues.th
Transparency International ranked Croatia 64 out of 179 countries in its 2007
Corruption Perceptions Index. It ranks next-to-last (just above Romania and equal
with Bulgaria) when compared to EU and western European countries, but at the top
when compared to eastern European and former Soviet countries not part of the EU.24
Croatia has also made progress in minority rights, and to a lesser extent, the
return of Serb refugees to their homes. Over 300,000 Serb refugees fled or were
driven from their homes during the 1991-1995 war between Croatian and local Serb
forces backed by neighboring Serbia. About half that number have returned,
according to the Croatian government. Other sources claim that this estimate is
inflated as many persons return only briefly in order to sell their property and leave.
Many of those who remain are elderly pensioners. The EU stated that further
progress is needed on these issues, as well as the prosecution of war criminals. The
EU report noted that Croatia is a functioning market economy but stressed the need
for further structural reforms, less state interference in the economy, and a better
public administration and judicial system.25
23 Prepared by Steven Woehrel, Specialist in European Affairs.
24 Transparency International website, [http://www.transparency.org].
25 European Commission, Croatia Progress Report 2007, from the Commission website,
U.S. officials have echoed these concerns, saying that Croatia needs to continue
to assist war refugees, including by restoring their property and tenancy rights,
reconstructing their houses, and providing necessary infrastructure. Croatia also
needs to pursue judicial reform, including by reducing case backlogs and improving
training of judges and court personnel. In addition, the United States wants Croatia
to amend laws that discriminate against non-Croatians who had property expropriated
during World War II and the communist period.26
Public Support for NATO Membership. Public support has been
identified as perhaps the biggest weakness of Croatia’s membership candidacy.
Public opinion polls from early 2008 showed support for NATO membership barely
exceeding 50% of the population, despite active efforts of the Croatian government
to boost public awareness of the benefits of NATO membership. After an attack by
a Serbian mob on the Croatian embassy in Belgrade following Kosovo’s declaration
of independence from Serbia in February 2008, this figure increased to over 60%.
Those opposing NATO membership believe that it would engage Croatia in
international conflicts against its will and that NATO will demand bases in Croatia.
Through continuing public relations efforts, the Croatian government has tried to
allay these fears and boost public support for NATO membership.
The largest party in the governing coalition, the Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ), strongly supports NATO membership for Croatia. Since the
1999 death of its founder, longtime Croatian strongman Franjo Tudjman, the HDZ
has transformed itself from a nationalist, quasi-authoritarian party to a
democratically-oriented, pro-European center-right political force. Croatia’s leading
opposition party, the Social Democratic Party, supports NATO membership, but
called for a public referendum on the issue. In any case, Prime Minister Sanader
ruled out a referendum on NATO membership during the country’s November 2007
parliamentary elections and afterward. The HDZ’s coalition partner, the Croatian
Peasants’ Party-Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSS-HSLS) once supported a NATO
referendum, but dropped its demand when it formed a coalition government with the
HDZ. An effort by anti-NATO activists to collect enough signatures from Croatian
voters to force a referendum failed by a large margin.
Defense Reform and Ability to Contribute to Allied Missions. Croatia
has made progress on defense reforms, according to most observers. Croatia is
moving from the relatively large, territorially-based conscript army that it had during
its war with Serbian forces in the 1990s to a smaller, more professional, more
deployable force. Croatia ended conscription at the beginning of 2008. Croatia’s
active duty armed forces total 17,660 men, of which 12,300 are in the Army.27 By
26 Testimony of Daniel Fried before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 10,
27 International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2007, from the IISS
ready for such deployments. Croatian defense officials say that it is their goal
ultimately to have 40% of their forces able to be deployed for international missions.
Croatia’s 2008 defense expenditures amount to 1.81% of GDP. By 2010, Croatia
plans to spend 2% of its GDP on defense, the level recommended by NATO for
member states, although currently reached by only 7 of the 26 allies.28
As noted above, NATO has encouraged candidate states to develop “niche”
capabilities to assist NATO missions. To this end, Croatia is developing a special
operations platoon, a demining platoon, and plans to acquire two helicopters for
NATO-led operations. It also plans to contribute a motorized infantry company, a
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons defense platoon, and an engineering
platoon.29 However, some independent assessments question whether Croatia has
committed the financial resources necessary to carry out its planned reforms.30
Croatia has about 190 troops in Mazar-e-Sharif and Faizabadan in northern
Afghanistan, as part of the NATO-led ISAF stabilization force, and is planning to
increase the size of its force by another 100 troops. Croatia heads an Operational
Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) that trains Afghan army units. Croatia says
that its forces in Afghanistan operate free of the caveats that limit the deployment and
activities of the ISAF contingents of some other countries. It also participates in a
military medical team with Albania and Macedonia. Croatia did not support the U.S.
invasion of Iraq in 2003 and it has no troops in the U.S.-led coalition there. Croatia
will likely continue to need support from its allies to be able to participate in
international missions, in part due to a lack of logistical capabilities that limit its
capacity to deploy and sustain its forces.
Regional Issues. Croatia has no major conflicts with its neighbors.
Relations with Serbia improved greatly after democratic governments came to power
in both countries in 2000. Since then, Croatia has also played a largely positive role
in Bosnia and Herzegovina, encouraging ethnic Croats there to work within the
Bosnian political system rather than seek intervention by Croatia. In mid-March
2008, Croatia resolved an issue over a coastal zone that it had had with two
neighbors. Croatia had declared an “ecological and fisheries protection zone” in its
Adriatic waters, over the strong objections of neighboring Slovenia and Italy. With
the support of the Croatian parliament, Zagreb suspended the zone on March 12,
2008. Croatia and Slovenia had also disagreed over the maritime boundary between
the two countries. However, in August 2007, the two countries agreed to refer the
dispute for arbitration to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Another
regional issue is Kosovo, which declared independence in February 2008. On March
Since 2003, Croatia has participated with Albania and Macedonia in the U.S.-
sponsored Adriatic Charter, which promotes cooperation among the three countries
28 Forecast International report on Croatia, February 2008.
29 NATO Parliamentary Assembly, The Three Adriatic Aspirants: Capabilities and
Preparations, 2007, op. cit.
30 Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment: The Balkans, December 14, 2008.
in defense reforms and other areas in order to boost their NATO membership
prospects. Croatia participates in other regional fora, including the Southeast Europe
Defense Ministerial (SEDM) and the Southeastern Europe Brigade (SEEBRIG).
M acedoni a 31
Since joining NATO’sMacedonia at a Glance
Membership Action Plan (MAP) in
with NATO on a broad array of
reforms. Macedonia’s efforts haveEthnic Groups:
been backed by a strong domesticMacedonian, 64.2%; Albanian, 25.2%;
majority (90% by some polls)Turkish, 3.9%; Roma, 2.7%; Serb,
favoring membership in NATO. In1.8%; other, 2.2% (2002 census)
addition to consultative mechanisms
under the MAP process, MacedoniaTotal Area: 25,333 sq. km. (slightly larger
hosts a NATO liaison office inthan Vermont)
Skopje that provides advice on
military reforms and support toGross Domestic Product: $6.85 billion(2007 est.)
NATO-led Balkan operations.32 At a
January 2008 meeting to reviewMilitary Budget: $161 million (2007, IISS);
NATO’s progress report on$153.4 million (2007, FI)
Macedonia’s 9th MAP cycle, NATO
representatives praised Macedonia’sActive Duty Armed Forces: 10,890 (Army
progress in implementing political,9,760; Air Force 1,130) (2007)
economic, and military reforms, but
noted that “more needs to beSources: CIA World Factbook; IISS Military Balance2008; Forecast International
accomplished.”33 Although details of
the reports under the MAP process
remain classified, media reports, summary analyses, and comments by government
officials have indicated a mixed picture for Macedonia but with notable progress
achieved in the months and weeks before the Bucharest summit.
Domestic Political Issues. Among the most important factors that has
weighed on Macedonia’s NATO candidacy prospects has been the state of its
political reforms. NATO has identified reform priorities in Macedonia to include
“efforts to meet democratic standards, support for reducing corruption and organized
crime, judicial reform, improving public administration, and promoting good-
neighborly relations.”34 Throughout much of 2007, political conflict across the
spectrum of political parties in Macedonia caused substantial deadlock in parliament,
31 This section was originally prepared by Julie Kim, Specialist in European Affairs, and
updated by Steven Woehrel, Specialist in European Affairs.
32 For more information on the NATO headquarters presence in Skopje, see “NATO
Headquarters Skopje” web page at [http://www.jfcnaples.nato.int/nhqs/index.html].
33 NATO press release, January 23, 2008.
34 “NATO’s relations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” from NATO’s
web page at [http://www.nato.int/issues/nato_fyrom/index.html].
and even led to a physical confrontation in parliament that fall. The net result was
stalled progress on passing key reform measures, including bills relating to
implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (the 2001 accord that ended a
near-civil war in Macedonia). On numerous occasions that year, international
officials expressed disappointment with the antagonistic state of political relations
across the party spectrum in Macedonia, and the incapacity for political leaders to
engage in constructive dialogue and compromise rather than confrontation.35
Shortly before the Bucharest summit, the Macedonian government nearly fell
after an ethnic Albanian party briefly left the coalition. Following the summit, a
majority in the Assembly voted to dissolve the parliament and hold snap elections on
June 1. The election resulted in a crushing victory for Prime Minister Gruevski and
his nationalist VRMO-DPMNE party, which won an absolute majority in the
parliament and formed a coalition with an ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic
Union for Integration. The elections were marred by violence and irregularities in
ethnic Albanian-majority areas, and fell short of international standards. The United
States has urged Macedonia to follow through on investigations and prosecutions of
those responsible for the electoral violence, as well as strengthening safeguards to
make sure such incidents are not repeated.36
NATO’s political reform priorities identified for Macedonia track closely with
the country’s EU accession prospects as well. Macedonia has been formally
designated as an EU candidate country. In its latest progress reports on EU
candidates released in early November 2007, the European Commission praised
Macedonia’s achievements, but expressed concern that political tensions were
delaying important political and legal reforms and undermining the functioning of
political institutions.37 Reflecting these concerns, the EU has not yet set a start date
for accession talks. This unfulfilled goal remains a priority for Macedonia.
Defense Reform and Capacity to Contribute to Allied Missions.
Macedonia has an extensive track record of implementing broad defense reforms,
advancing security cooperation regionally, and contributing to global missions. The
Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM) has been undergoing a major
restructuring effort toward a smaller, lighter, and fully professional force under a
streamlined command structure. From a 2007 strength of about 11,000, Macedonia
continues to downsize its forces to reach about 8,000 active troops by the end of
Macedonia’s restructuring effort has focused on developing niche capabilities for use
in allied operations such as special forces — including special purpose units for
counter-insurgency and unconventional operations — and military police. Macedonia
has surpassed NATO’s informal defense budget benchmark of 2% of GDP. Its 2007
35 See, for example, “NATO Urges More Macedonian Reforms,” BalkanInsight, November
36 Testimony of Daniel Fried before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 10,
37 For full text of the 2007 progress reports, see European Commission website,
defense budget was increased to over $153 million by one estimate, or about 2.3%
of GDP, and included a greater share for military modernization than in the past.38
Macedonia has sustained its contributions to numerous international missions,
and has taken measures to reduce limitations, or caveats, on the use of its troops. Its
current contributions include a 140-strong infantry unit providing security to the
NATO ISAF headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan; about 30 military personnel to the
EU force in Bosnia; and a 77-strong special operations unit in Baghdad as part of
U.S.-led operations in Iraq. As noted, Macedonia continues to host a NATO
headquarters presence in Skopje for the alliance’s Balkan operations, mainly in
Kosovo. In 2007, it took a leading role in coordinating activities of the U.S.-Adriatic
Name Dispute. A longstanding unresolved dispute with Greece, a NATO
ally, became closely intertwined with Macedonia’s prospects for an invitation at the
Bucharest summit. The two countries have been in disagreement over Macedonia’s
use of the name “Macedonia” since 1991, and have met intermittently with U.N.
Special Representatives since 1995 in order to reach a mutually acceptable solution
to the dispute. U.N. Envoy and U.S. diplomat Matthew Nimetz commenced a new
round of talks with Greece and Macedonia in January 2008. With a greater sense of
urgency to resolving the dispute, Nimetz floated several new proposals on resolving
the dispute in February and March. Further talks with the parties, however, could not
produce an agreement.
While this dispute had long been kept on a separate track from Macedonia’s
Euro-Atlantic aspirations, the two issues became inextricably linked in the run-up to
the Bucharest summit. Athens maintained that it could not support Macedonia’s
NATO candidacy if no mutually acceptable agreement on the name issue was
reached. Since NATO operates by consensus, the Greek position made clear that a
veto was eminently possible. In contrast, Macedonia’s government insisted that it
has made numerous concessions already, and that linking its accession prospects to
the bilateral name dispute would be unacceptable and would violate an interim
accord agreed to by both sides in 1995. In visits to the region and at the March 6,
before the summit. After the summit, U.S. and other officials continued to urge
both parties to engage in the Nimetz process in order to reach a compromise
38 Forecast International report on Macedonia, December 2007; Jane’s World Armies,
January 7, 2008.
39 In December 2007, NATO ministers called for “mutually acceptable, timely solutions to
outstanding issues.” Visiting Skopje in March 2008, the NATO Secretary General pointedly
noted that “Greece is a staunch NATO member,” while Macedonia was not. Associated
Press, March 3, 2008.
Of the three MAP states, NATO invited only Albania and Croatia to begin
accession talks to join the alliance after Bucharest. NATO noted with regret that
talks to resolve the Macedonia name issue had not produced a successful outcome.
Alliance members agreed to extend an invitation to Macedonia “as soon as a
mutually acceptable solution to the name issue has been reached” and said they
expected talks on the name issue to be “concluded as soon as possible.”40 Expressing
deep disappointment, the Macedonian delegation left the summit early. At a follow-
on meeting in Croatia, President Bush expressed further regret about the failure to
include Macedonia and reiterated the U.S. position favoring Macedonia’s entry into
NATO began membership accession talks with Albania and Croatia in late
April. After the negotiations were concluded in early May, both countries submitted
letters of intent confirming their desire to join NATO, along with a timetable for
completing necessary reforms both before and after accession. The alliance then
drew up accession protocols amending the North Atlantic Treaty to permit their
membership in NATO. On July 9, 2008, the foreign ministers of Albania and Croatia
and the Permanent Representatives of the current 26 NATO allies signed the
accession protocols. The protocols must now be ratified, first by current NATO
members, then by Albania and Croatia. If all of the countries ratify the protocols,
Albania and Croatia will deposit the instruments of accession with the United States,
which is the depository for the documents under the terms of the North Atlantic
Treaty. Albania and Croatia will then be NATO members.
NATO member states contribute to the activities of the alliance in several ways,
the chief of which is through the deployment of their own armed forces, funded by
their national budgets. Certain commonly conducted activities, however, are paid for
out of three NATO-run budgets. These three accounts — the civil budget, the
military budget, and the security investment program — are funded by individual
contributions from the member states. The countries’ percentage shares of the
common funds are negotiated among the members, and are based upon per capita
GDP and several other factors.
During the period leading up to first round of enlargement in central and eastern
Europe in 1999, analysts estimated the cost of adding new members at between $10
billion and $125 billion, depending upon different threat scenarios and accounting
techniques. Some Members of Congress expressed concern over these cost
projections and were also worried that the United States might be left to shoulder a
large share of the expenditures; they questioned whether existing burdensharing
arrangements should continue and suggested that the European allies should be
40 Bucharest summit communiqué, April 3, 2008.
41 Prepared by Carl Ek, Specialist in European Affairs.
encouraged to assume a larger financial share for the security of the continent.
However, a NATO study estimated that enlargement would require only $1.5 billion
in common funds expenditures over 10 years, and DOD concurred. It was further
forecast that the 2004 round of enlargement would cost a similar amount, “with
greater benefits” to U.S. security. In addition, the inclusion of ten new contributors
to the NATO common funds actually reduced the percentage shares of the
established members — including the United States.42
In preparation for the Bucharest summit in April 2008, NATO staff prepared
estimates of the total cost and the cost-sharing implications of a new round of
enlargement. NATO staff have concluded, and allies have informally agreed, that the
methodologies and assumptions used to estimate costs and cost sharing arrangements
in prior rounds of enlargement were still valid, and that the addition of new members
in 2008 would not entail significant costs. The main expenses likely to be charged
directly to the alliance’s common military budget would be for air defense upgrades,
improvement of in-country facilities, mainly airfields, for deployment, and the
procurement of secure communications between NATO headquarters in Brussels and
Mons, and capitals of the new member countries. Any other common-funded
projects in new member states would be assessed and funded in terms of their
contributions to NATO capabilities or support to ongoing missions and are not
directly attributable to enlargement. In recent years, the cost issue in general has
received relatively little attention from policymakers and the media. The focus has
instead been on 1) specialized capabilities that new — and existing — members can
bring to the alliance, and 2) member states’ willingness to contribute military assets
to alliance operations, particularly in Afghanistan.43
The Bush Administration reflects the general NATO view that the door to
NATO must remain open to qualified states. Since the Clinton Administration, U.S.
officials have supported the idea of a Europe “whole and free.” While NATO
remains an organization for the defense of the United States, Canada, and the
European allies, it has increasingly developed a political agenda. For example,
NATO allies now routinely discuss such matters as energy security, disaster relief,
and a range of political issues with Russia. The United States designed the MAP
process, and takes a leading role in requiring candidate states to develop a
professional military, democratic structures, a transparent defense budget process,
42 CRS Report 97-668, NATO Expansion: Cost Issues, by Carl Ek, February 26, 1998. U.S.
Department of Defense, Report to the Congress on the Military Requirements and Costs of
NATO Enlargement. Washington, D.C. February 1998. U.S. Congressional Budget Office.
NATO Burdensharing After Enlargement. Washington, D.C. August 2001. U.S.
Department of State. Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Fact Sheet: The
Enlargement of NATO. Washington, D.C. January 31, 2003.
43 CRS interview of U.S. Department of Defense official, January 11, 2008.
44 Prepared by Paul Belkin, Analyst in European Affairs and Vince Morelli, Section
Research Manager, Europe and the Americas Section.
civilian control of the military, and free market structures. The Bush Administration
also supports the entry of new European NATO member states into the European
Union as a means to build stability.
The Administration supported invitations to Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia
at Bucharest. While U.S. officials acknowledged that all three states must continue
to improve their militaries and their political institutions, they also believe that each
state has made considerable progress over the last several years. These officials also
contended that the three governments would contribute to the political stabilization
of southeastern Europe.45
The Administration has a view of NATO’s long-term membership roster that
is broader than that of some allies. For instance, the United States strongly supports
the entry of countries such as Georgia and Ukraine and continues to argue that
Georgia and Ukraine should be invited to join the MAP process. In the days leading
to the Bucharest summit, President Bush made a highly visible tour of Georgia and
Ukraine, where he touted their qualifications for the MAP. While some allies appear
to view Russia’s August 2008 invasion of Georgia and ongoing political instability
in Ukraine as cause to further oppose granting the MAP to these countries, the
Administration continues to advocate for a MAP for Georgia and Ukraine.
Administration officials argue that although both countries face significant challenges
to meeting the requirements for full NATO membership, they should be granted a
clear roadmap to membership as offered by the MAP.46
The Bush Administration also supports the idea of a “NATO with global
partners.” This idea does not necessarily imply membership for countries beyond the
Euro-Atlantic region. Instead, the Administration has sought, for example, to engage
such countries as Australia, New Zealand, and Japan in the effort to stabilize
Afghanistan, but does not actively promote their membership in the alliance.
The allies have extended Partnership for Peace status to a number of central
Asian governments, a move that the Administration strongly supports. There are
several reasons for this policy, even though these governments are not democratic:
the PfP was originally intended as a mechanism to better integrate former Soviet
Republics into the west and the United States and its allies wished to encourage
greater respect for human rights and nascent democratic practices in central Asia;
these governments have since provided logistical support to allied operations in
Afghanistan; and several of these countries are key to the development of greater
energy security because of their oil and natural gas resources and the pipelines that
cross their territory.
45 Discussions with Administration officials, January-February 2008. Testimony of
Administration officials, Hearing, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 2nd session, 110th
Congress, March 11, 2008.
46 Testimony of Daniel Fried before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 10,
Future Candidates for Future Rounds?
Geor gi a 47
After Georgia’s “rose revolution” of late 2003 brought a new reformist
government to power, Georgia placed top priority on integration with NATO.
Georgia began sending troops to assist NATO forces in Kosovo in 1999 and has
pledged to send troops to assist the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
in Afghanistan. In 2007, Georgia became the third largest contributor (behind the
United States and Britain) to coalition operations in Iraq, with a deployment of 2,000
troops. Georgia joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1994. At the
NATO Summit in Prague in November 2002, Georgia declared that it aspired to
NATO membership. Although some alliance members initially appeared more
confident than others that Georgia had made adequate progress, a consensus was
reached in September 2006 to offer Georgia an “Intensified Dialogue” of stepped-up
consultations to assist the country in furthering its aspirations for alliance
The alliance has urged Georgia to continue to democratize, develop a market
economy with social welfare guarantees, and create a professional military that
contributes to Euro-Atlantic security. Other criteria have included the resolution of
internal separatist conflicts and international disputes, such as contention with
Russia. At a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on
February 14, 2008, the head of Georgia’s mission to NATO transmitted a note from
President Mikheil Saakashvili formally requesting the alliance to invite Georgia to
participate in a Membership Action Plan (MAP). On February 14, 2008, the Senate
approved S.Res. 439 (sponsored by Senator Lugar), which urged NATO to award a
MAP to Georgia and Ukraine as soon as possible.
After a Georgian government crackdown on demonstrators in early November
2007, some allies raised concerns about Georgia’s apparently faltering
democratization and the suitability of inviting it to participate in a MAP at the NATO
summit in Bucharest in April 2008.48 De Hoop Scheffer criticized the imposition of
emergency rule and the closure of media outlets by the government in Georgia as
“not in line with Euro-Atlantic values.”49 Domestic and international criticism may
have helped convince President Saakashvili to admit that his government appeared
non-responsive to the concerns of many citizens, and to resign and seek re-election
by pledging reforms. Following Saakashvili’s re-election in early 2008, NATO
“welcomed” the international monitors’ assessments that the election reflected the
free choice of the voters, and stated that “NATO will continue to deepen its
47 Prepared by Jim Nichol, Specialist in Russian and Eurasian Affairs.
48 Financial Times, January 25, 2008, p. 6.
49 NATO. Press Release. Statement by the Secretary General on the Situation in Georgia,
November 8, 2007.
intensified dialogue with Georgia.”50 Nonetheless, some allies reportedly urged
delaying a decision at the April NATO summit on a MAP for Georgia, at least until
after an assessment of that country’s prospective May 2008 legislative election.
Georgia has made progress in creating a free market economy, resulting in GDP
growth of 12.4% in 2007 and 9.3% during the first quarter of 2008.51 However, the
economy has been hampered somewhat since 2006 by trade restrictions imposed by
Russia. Georgia’s high level of lingering poverty was a contributing factor in the
civil unrest in late 2007. Although the Georgian government has made some
progress in combating corruption, the World Bank stresses that corruption still
seriously retards good governance.52 Saakashvili has pledged added efforts to combat
poverty and corruption. Some estimate that the Russia-Georgia conflict in August
In order to increase interoperability with NATO forces and contribute to NATO
operations, the Georgian military has undertaken major efforts to re-equip with
western-made or upgraded weapons, armor, aviation, and electronic equipment.
Georgia’s Strategic Defense Review suggested that the country eventually might be
able to contribute to NATO by developing a niche capability in mountain combat
training.54 To enhance democratic civil-military relations, a civilian defense minister
was appointed in 2004 to head a ministry increasingly staffed by civilians. Some in
Georgia have alleged that military budgeting remains non-transparent and thwarts
Some observers in Georgia and the west have argued that NATO’s failure to
offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan at the April 2008 NATO summit
emboldened Russia’s aggressiveness toward Georgia and may have been an enabling
factor in Russia’s August 2008 invasion of Georgia (discussed in more detail below).
Others consider that NATO’s pledge that Georgia eventually would become a
member, as well as Georgia’s ongoing movement toward integration with the west,
spurred Russian aggression. Saakashvili argued on August 10 that Russia wanted to
crush Georgia’s independence and end its bid to join NATO. France and Germany,
which had voiced reservations at the April 2008 NATO summit about extending a
MAP to Georgia, may argue even more forcefully against admitting Georgia, citing
both the higher level of tensions over the separatist regions, Georgia’s military
incursion into South Ossetia, and the danger of war with Russia. Although the
United States strongly supported a MAP for Georgia at the April 2008 NATO
summit, recent events may have dimmed this prospect.
50 NATO. Press Release. NATO Spokesman’s Response to the Presidential Elections in
Georgia, January 8, 2008. According to a plebiscite held at the same time as the election,
about 77% of Georgia’s citizens who voted answered affirmatively that the country should
51 Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Report: Georgia, September 2008.
52 The World Bank. Governance Matters 2007: Country Data Reports.
53 Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Report: Georgia, op. cit.
54 Georgian Ministry of Defense, Strategic Defense Review, January 2008, p. 83.
NATO has condemned Russia’s August 2008 military incursion into Georgia
as disproportionate and the subsequent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia’s
independence as violating Georgia’s territorial integrity. The alliance announced on
August 19 that it was temporarily suspending meetings of the NATO-Russia Council
and that it was forming a NATO-Georgia Council to discuss Georgia’s post-conflict
democratic, economic, and defense needs.55 The Council’s inaugural meeting was
held in Tbilisi on September 15 as part of a visit by the North Atlantic Council
ambassadors and Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. A communique adopted
at the inaugural meeting reaffirmed NATO’s commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty
and territorial integrity, raised concerns about Russia’s “disproportionate” military
actions against Georgia, and condemned Russia’s recognition of the independence
of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The ambassadors stressed that NATO would
continue to assist Georgia in carrying out the reform program set forth in Georgia’s
Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO. In a separate statement, de
Hoop Scheffer called for Russia to permit international observers to enter South
Ossetia and Abkhazia and for Russia to draw down troops in the regions to pre-
conflict numbers. He reportedly indicated that it might prove difficult to resume
meetings of the NATO-Russia Council until such conditions were met.56 On
September 18-19, a meeting of NATO defense ministers further discussed Georgia’s
rebuilding needs and the implications of Russia’s actions for Euro-Atlantic security.
While the defense ministers were meeting, Russian President Medvedev accused
NATO of “provoking” the August Russia-Georgia conflict rather than guaranteeing
Ukr a i ne 58
Ukraine participates in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and has an
“Intensified Dialogue” with NATO on possible future membership in NATO and
related reforms. On January 15, 2008, President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minster
Yuliya Tymoshenko, and parliament speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk sent a letter to
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer requesting a Membership Action
Plan (MAP) for Ukraine at the NATO summit in Bucharest. On March 17, President
Yushchenko and Prime Minister Tymoshenko sent letters to De Hoop Scheffer,
German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy
reiterating Ukraine’s request for a MAP.
55 NATO. Statement: Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Foreign
Ministers held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels, August 19, 2008.
56 NATO. NATO-Georgia Joint Press Statement on the Occasion of the North Atlantic
Council Visit to Georgia and the Inaugural Meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission,
September 15, 2008; James Blitz, “NATO Head Attacks EU’s Georgia Deal,” Financial
Times, September 14, 2008.
57 Prashant Rao, “NATO Mulls Response as Russia Accuses It over Georgia,” Agence
France-Presse, September 19, 2008; “Medvedev Accuses NATO of Provoking Georgia
War,” Agence France-Presse, September 19, 2008.
58 Prepared by Steven Woehrel, Specialist in European Affairs.
Supporters of a MAP for Ukraine believe that it is important to give the pro-
western government in Kiev a strong signal of support for its Euro-Atlantic
aspirations. They say that Ukraine’s membership would be a way to incorporate the
country more fully into the Euro-Atlantic community of democratic values, as part
of the overall U.S. foreign policy goal of creating a Europe “whole and free.” Those
who view Russia as a potential threat to European security see Ukraine’s future
membership in NATO as a guarantee against possible Russian attempts to revive its
“empire.” However, Ukraine’s MAP candidacy faces several challenges.
Ukrainian Public Opinion and NATO Membership. One key challenge
to Ukraine’s desire for a MAP is the current lack of consensus on NATO
membership in Ukrainian society. Public opinion polls have shown that less than
one-quarter of the population supports NATO membership at present. Ukrainian
public opinion, on this as on other issues, is split largely along regional lines.
Persons living in southern and eastern Ukraine tend to oppose NATO membership.
People in these regions, whether ethnic Russians or Ukrainians, tend to be Russian-
speaking, are suspicious of Ukrainian nationalism, and support close ties with
Russia.59 They are largely opposed to NATO membership because they fear that it
will worsen ties with Russia. Many supporters of NATO membership are from
western Ukraine, where Ukrainian-speakers dominate, suspicion of Russia is
substantial, and support for a western orientation for Ukraine is high. However,
western Ukraine is considerably less populous than eastern Ukraine, where most of
the country’s industrial capacity is concentrated.
In addition to pro-Russian sentiment, many people in these regions and
elsewhere retain bad memories of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in which
Ukrainian draftees were forced to participate. They fear that NATO membership
could embroil them in Afghanistan again, and in similar conflicts in distant parts of
the world. Ukraine’s participation in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq in 2003-2004 was
politically unpopular in Ukraine. President Yushchenko withdrew Ukraine’s troops
from Iraq shortly after taking office in 2005.
The government coalition, which collapsed in September 2008, supported a
MAP for Ukraine. President Yushchenko strongly supports NATO membership for
Ukraine. Until the January 2008 letter to NATO Secretary General de Hoop
Scheffer, Tymoshenko appeared to be lukewarm at best about joining the alliance.
The Party of Regions, the largest opposition party, and the Communist Party are
strongly opposed to NATO membership. After the January 2008 letter, they blocked
the Ukrainian parliament from conducting business, in protest against Yatsenyuk’s
signature of the document. The parliament resumed operations on March 6, 2008,
after it passed a resolution stating that the parliament would consider legislation to
join NATO only after a public referendum approved NATO membership.
Ukrainian leaders acknowledge that an effective public information campaign
is needed to boost support in Ukraine for NATO membership. A lack of domestic
consensus on NATO membership could make it difficult for future Ukrainian
59 Ukraine’s population is 77.8% ethnic Ukrainian, and 17.3% ethnic Russian, with a range
of other minorities. “Ukraine,” CIA World Factbook 2008, Washington, DC.
governments to consistently fulfill the terms of a MAP. In February 2008, perhaps
in an effort to defuse domestic and Russian criticism over his decision to seek a
MAP, President Yushchenko said that Ukraine will not allow the establishment of
NATO bases on Ukrainian soil. He noted that the Ukrainian constitution does not
permit the establishment of foreign military bases in Ukraine, with the temporary
exception of Russia’s current Black Sea naval base, the lease for which runs out in
Lack of Unity Within NATO on a MAP for Ukraine. Before the January
2008 letter by Ukraine’s top three leaders, U.S. officials warned that there must be
support for the MAP “across the government spectrum,” that Ukraine must continue
defense reforms, and that Ukraine needs to conduct a serious information campaign
to educate the public on NATO. They warned that Ukraine must “have its act
together” on these issues and not make “premature appeals” for membership.60 The
January 2008 letter to the NATO Secretary General appeared to remove this
objection for the United States. During a visit to Kiev on April 1 to meet with
President Yushchenko, President Bush strongly supported granting a MAP to
Ukraine at the Bucharest summit.
Key European NATO allies were reluctant to consider a MAP for Ukraine at
Bucharest in part because they feel that Ukraine’s qualifications for a MAP are weak,
and in part because they are concerned about damaging relations with Russia. On
March 6, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, “I cannot hide my
skepticism” about Ukraine’s chances for a MAP. At the NATO foreign ministers’
meeting, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and other European leaders
stressed the need for maintaining good relations with Moscow.61
Outcomes, Prospects, and Russia’s Reaction62
The allies declined to offer Georgia and Ukraine a MAP at the Bucharest
summit. However, in the Summit Communique, the allies praised Georgia’s and63
Ukraine’s “valuable contributions to Alliance operations,” and declared that “we
support these countries’ applications for MAP.” In unprecedented language, the
alliance pledged that Georgia and Ukraine would eventually become members of
NATO without specifying when that might happen. The allies also said that the
question of MAPs for Kiev and Tbilisi could be revisited at the NATO Foreign
Ministers’ meeting in December 2008.
60 Transcript of remarks by David J. Kramer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
European and Eurasian Affairs, December 7, 2007, from the State Department website
[ h t t p : / / www.s t a t e . go v] .
61 Lorne Cook, “NATO Considers Balkan Membership, as Greeks Threaten Veto,” Agence
France-Presse wire service, March 6, 2008.
62 Prepared by Jim Nichol, Specialist in Russian and Eurasian Affairs, and Steven Woehrel,
Specialist in European Affairs.
63 Georgia stressed at the summit that it would contribute troops to peacekeeping operations
Among the arguments used at the summit by allies opposed to a MAP for
Georgia, German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung argued on April 2 that Georgia
does not meet a requirement of NATO membership (and of MAP) to be a contributor
to rather than a recipient of alliance security, since a U.N. observer mission was
stationed in Abkhazia, to which Germany and other NATO countries contribute
personnel. Similarly, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier raised
concerns on April 2 that political instability in Georgia makes it unsuitable for a
MAP. He also argued that European relations with Russia were under “strain,”
because of policies that included the recognition by many European governments of
Kosovo’s independence, and that Russia could become “unmanageable” if further
strains occurred. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon stated on April 1 that Paris
first wanted to join in a European “dialogue” with Russia on the balance of power
before considering a MAP for Georgia.64 Some observers suggested that European
concerns about upsetting energy ties with Russia affected views toward a MAP for
Some allies also expressed concerns about the democratization progress in
Georgia. The Summit Declaration called for Georgia’s prospective May 2008
legislative elections to be “free and fair.” The Communique also called for Russia
to address Georgia’s remaining concerns about the closure of Russian military bases
on its territory, presumably referring to the fact that Russia continues to use bases in
Abkhazia, and in South Ossetia for its “peacekeepers,” in line with Russia’s
commitments under the adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)
Despite disappointment in Tbilisi, Georgia President Saakashvili hailed the
Summit Communique language that Georgia “will become a member of NATO” and
claimed that it was a “direct obligation” by the alliance that was better than a MAP,
which does not guarantee NATO membership.
The ambiguous result of the summit caused varying reactions within Ukraine.
President Yushchenko and the Ukrainian government hailed the summit as a key
stepping-stone on Kiev’s path toward NATO membership, pointing in particular to
the commitment made to admit Ukraine into the alliance. In contrast, Yanukovych
and the opposition applauded the denial of a MAP at the summit, viewing it as a
blow to Yushchenko’s pro-NATO policy.
As discussed in more detail below, the conflict between Russia and Georgia in
August 2008 may have an important impact on Ukraine’s chances for receiving a
MAP. European NATO countries that have opposed a MAP for Ukraine may be
even more reluctant to agree to one, fearing a sharp deterioration in relations with
Moscow and perhaps even being embroiled in a military conflict with Russia. On the
other hand, supporters of a MAP for Ukraine have argued that the refusal to grant a
MAP to Kiev and Tbilisi may have emboldened Moscow to use massive military
force against Georgia. They believe that a MAP for Ukraine and Georgia would send
a strong warning signal to Russia to not repeat the use of such aggressive tactics. It
64 Open Source Center. Europe: Daily Report (hereafter EDR), April 2, 2008, Doc. No.
EUP-72004; April 2, 2008, Doc. No. EUP-72002; Reuters, April 1, 2008.
would also signal NATO’s rejection of Moscow’s assertion of a sphere of influence
in post-Soviet countries.
Another issue that may have an impact on Ukraine’s MAP prospects is the
instability of Ukraine’s government. On September 16, 2008, Ukraine’s pro-western
government collapsed. The Our Ukraine bloc of President Viktor Yushchenko quit
the governing coalition due to laws passed by parliament restricting President
Yushchenko’s power. In addition, Yushchenko, who has sharply condemned the
Russian assault on Georgia, has been angered by Tymoshenko’s reluctance to
comment on the issue or support his plans to place restrictions on Russia’s use of its
Black Sea Fleet ships based in Ukraine.
Analysts believe that Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko could form a coalition
government with the opposition Party of Regions, led by Viktor Yanukovych.
Yanukovych has strongly backed Russian actions in Georgia. A Tymoshenko-Party
of Regions government could conceivably downplay or even withdraw its support for
a MAP. If no new government is formed within 30 days, the crisis could lead to new
parliamentary elections (the third in less than three years), which critics of a MAP for
Ukraine may claim as evidence of the instability and irresponsibility of the country’s
Russia’s Reaction. Russian leaders appeared dissatisfied with the Bucharest
summit outcome, despite the fact that neither Georgia nor Ukraine were offered a
MAP. Then-President Putin reacted harshly to NATO’s pledge of eventual
membership for Georgia and Ukraine. On April 16, 2008, he directed his government
to establish a broad range of cooperative ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both
Georgia and NATO protested these Russian moves as undermining Georgia’s
sovereignty and territorial integrity. Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Bakradze
warned that Russia would “do everything” over the subsequent months to destabilize
Georgia in the expectation that the foreign ministers would then balk at a MAP for65
Tensions increased between Russia and Georgia in the months following the
Bucharest summit when some unmanned aerial vehicles used by Georgia for
reconnaissance were shot down over Abkhazia, Russia boosted the number of
“peacekeepers” in Abkhazia to 3,000, and on several occasions South Ossetian and
Georgian forces exchanged gunfire that resulted in casualties. After such exchanges
intensified in early August 2008, Georgia reported that it was forced to move its
troops into South Ossetia to quell the gunfire. Whether by design or in response,
Russian military forces swept into South Ossetia and Abkhazia and then into large
swaths of surrounding Georgian territory. Soon after a ceasefire was mediated by the
EU on August 14-15, Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia. Russia also announced that it was suspending most cooperation with
NATO, although Russia’s emissary to NATO stated on September 3 that Russia
65 Open Source Center. Central Eurasia: Daily Report (hereafter CEDR), April 3, 2008,
Doc. Nos. CEP-950352 and CEP-950455; April 4, 2008, Doc. No. CEP-950366; April 5,
would continue to cooperate with NATO on trans-shipment of supplies to
Russian leaders have also been hostile to Ukraine’s possible NATO
membership. Russia has viewed the former Soviet republic as lying within its sphere
of influence, in which western countries and institutions should play little role.
NATO, as a military alliance, is viewed with particular suspicion. On February 14,
then-President Putin warned that Russia might be forced to take military
countermeasures, including aiming missiles against Ukraine, if Kiev hosted foreign
bases or joined the U.S. missile defense project.67 According to Russian press
accounts, Putin reportedly told President Bush and NATO leaders at the NATO-
Russia summit that Ukraine was not a real state, given its regional heterogeneity, and
that Ukraine would cease to exist if it joined NATO. On April 8, Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would do all that it could do to prevent NATO
membership for Ukraine. On April 11, Chief of the Russian General Staff General
Yuriy Baluyevsky warned that Russia would take military and “other measures” if
Ukraine joined NATO.68
In addition to changes in its military posture, Russia could react in several other
ways to the prospect of NATO membership for Ukraine, judging by Moscow’s past
conduct in the region, particularly its conflict with Georgia. It could try to stir up
regional conflicts between eastern and western Ukraine. Russia could encourage pro-
Russian groups to intensify anti-NATO campaigns and stir up conflict by pushing for
use of Russian as an official language in eastern and southern Ukraine. Russia could
even encourage those favoring more autonomy for these regions or even their
separation from Ukraine, particularly in the case of the Crimean peninsula. It should
be noted, however, that such tactics have not always worked as Moscow expected.
Indeed, they have sometimes produced a backlash among the large majority of
Ukrainians who favor the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Russia could also exploit close economic ties between the two countries. As it
did in January 2006, Russia could cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine, or sharply
increase the price it charges. Russia could also cut off or hinder other trade with
Ukraine, or make life difficult for the many Ukranian labor migrants in Russia.
Russia has used similar tactics in disputes with Moldova and Georgia, both of which
have sought closer ties with the EU or NATO or both. In any case, Russian ability
and desire to “punish” Ukraine politically and economically could exceed the ability
and willingness of many NATO states to respond.
66 “Envoy Says Russia to Continue Cooperation with NATO on Afghanistan,” BBC
Monitoring International Reports, September 3, 2008.
67 Transcript of press conference with President Putin and President Yushchenko, February
68 Jamestown Foundation Eurasia Daily Monitor, April 14, 2008, Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty Daily Report, April 9, 2008, and Agence France-Presse wire dispatch, April 11,
Another possibility is that, after complaining loudly, Russia would grudgingly
accept NATO membership for Ukraine, as it did in the case of the Baltic states,
Poland, and other countries in central Europe. Many observers believe that this
outcome may be less likely due to the particular sensitivity of Ukraine to Russians,
many of whom believe the country should be closely tied to Russia, as much of it has
been from the 17th century until 1991. In addition, many observers note that Russia’s
foreign policy has been more assertive in recent years, as high revenues from energy
exports have improved its internal and external finances. Moreover, the Russian
government has used anti-NATO and anti-U.S. rhetoric to shore up its domestic
In his September 10, 2008, testimony on the accession of Albania and Croatia
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Fried stated that “NATO
has unfinished business in Georgia and Ukraine... Neither nation is ready for NATO
membership now. The question is whether these countries should have the same
prospects to meet NATO’s terms for membership as other European nations. This is
why the United States supports approving both countries entry into NATO’s
Membership Action Plan.”69 In his statement, Secretary Fried also noted that “we
seek good relations with Russia. We take into account Russia’s security concerns.
But we also take account of the concerns and aspirations of people who live in the
countries around Russia. Free people have the right to choose their own path.”70
In addition to Georgia and Ukraine, other countries that currently participate in
the Partnership for Peace program could seek full membership in NATO in the
future. In the western Balkan region, these include Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-
Herzegovina. At the Bucharest summit, the alliance invited Montenegro and Bosnia-
Herzegovina to begin an Intensified Dialogue with NATO, an interim step relating
to membership aspirations. Both countries also agreed to develop concrete relations
with the alliance through Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAP). At Bucharest,
NATO offered to consider an Intensified Dialogue with Serbia, should Belgrade
request one. However, a lack of political consensus in Serbia over possible NATO
membership may delay Serbia’s progress. Kosovo is also likely to seek closer ties
with NATO, perhaps at first through PfP.
Several allied governments believe that the overall pace of NATO enlargement
is too compressed, and wish to consider first how to resolve a complex range of
issues. In their view, if Albania and Croatia succeed in joining the alliance, then the
next round should go more slowly. These governments tended to oppose placing
Georgia and Ukraine in the MAP at Bucharest, and contend that other issues — the
calming of nationalist emotions in Serbia, an overall improvement in NATO-Russian
69 Testimony of Daniel Fried before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 10,
relations, and coming to grips with the wide-ranging problems in energy security —
must first be resolved before considering new countries for the MAP.71
As in previous rounds of enlargement, a range of political factors attends
consideration of the candidate states’ application for membership. Beyond the
qualifications achieved by a candidate state in the MAP process, such matters as the
stabilization of southeastern Europe, Russia’s voice in European security, and
bilateral relations between a member state and a candidate state also come into play.
Stability in southeastern Europe is an issue of great importance both to NATO
and the European Union, and current member governments believe that enlargement
can serve this goal. NATO’s decision to go to war against Serbia in 1999 to stop
ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and the alliance’s subsequent creation of its Kosovo
Force (KFOR) to contribute to Kosovo’s stability are evidence of this point. Further73
evidence is the EU’s decision to lead Kosovo’s “supervised independence.” Both
Serbia and Russia reacted strongly against Kosovo’s independence, declared on
February 17, 2008. The United States and most EU governments recognized
Kosovo’s independence the following week. On February 21 the U.S. embassy in
Belgrade was attacked, as was the Croatian embassy, and part of the Slovenian
embassy was sacked and burned. Serbian police reportedly stood by while mobs
carried out these attacks.
Serbian government leaders have vowed never to accept Kosovo’s
independence, and some may be complicit in stirring up unrest among the Serbian
minority in northern Kosovo. Nonetheless, despite strong disagreement with EU and
NATO member states over Kosovo, Serbia seeks integration into Europe through EU
membership and supports building closer relations with NATO through the
Partnership for Peace program. However, as indicated earlier, public opposition
within Serbia to full NATO membership means political support for an intensified
dialogue with NATO may be lacking.
Albania and Croatia have recognized Kosovo’s new status. Croatia has sought
to serve as a channel for the United States and Europe with Serbia, and has resettled
half of the 300,000 Serb refugees who fled Croatia during the Balkan conflicts of the
1990s. According to a range of European governments, there is minimal
discrimination in Croatia against the Serbian minority. The ability of the Albania,
Croatia, and Macedonia to put to rest enmity towards Serbia resulting from the
conflicts of the 1990s is an argument in favor of their serving as a factor for
71 Interviews with European officials, January-February 2008.
72 This and the following section prepared by Paul Belkin, Analyst in European Affairs, and
Vince Morelli, Section Research Manager, Europe and the Americas Section.
73 CRS Report RL31053, Kosovo and U.S. Policy: Background and Current Issues, by Julie
Kim and Steven Woehrel; and CRS Report RS21721, Kosovo’s Independence and U.S.
Policy, by Steven Woehrel.
stabilization in southeastern Europe, in the view of some member states. Their entry
into NATO could also serve as a positive example for future NATO candidates,
As discussed earlier, Russia’s opposition to the candidacies of Ukraine and
Georgia for the MAP has been shrill and threatening. Prime Minister Putin has said
that Russia will target nuclear weapons on Ukraine should it ever become a member
of NATO.75 Russia has reduced natural gas supplies to Ukraine and Georgia several
times in the last several years, ostensibly because the two countries would not agree
to pay a market price, but also as a likely act of intimidation. More broadly,
Gazprom, Russia’s government-owned national energy company that was once led
by the President Dmitri Medvedev, has been attempting to purchase distribution
networks in Europe. NATO discussed energy security at the Bucharest summit, and
some European governments believe that the alliance must first come to grips with
how to respond to energy cut-offs before moving closer to states such as Georgia and
Ukraine that are vulnerable to Moscow’s energy politics.76 Russia’s August 2008
invasion of Georgian territory and subsequent recognition of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia have heightened calls among alliance members to slow NATO enlargement
in favor of focusing on improving NATO-Russia relations. Proponents of this view
tend to argue that while desirable, NATO enlargement should not come at the cost
of jeopardizing Russian cooperation with alliance members on priority issues such
as the Iranian nuclear program and trade and energy issues. Critics and
Administration officials respond that the alliance must continue to seek constructive
relations with Russia, but that Russia should not be granted what would amount to
a de facto veto over decisions regarding alliance enlargement.77
Russia has also posed other obstacles to improved relations with NATO.
Estonian officials contend that cyber attacks on computers in Estonian banks and
governmental offices in spring 2007 originated from within the Russian
government.78 Georgian officials also allege that cyber attacks on Georgian
government websites during the August 2008 conflict originated in Russia. Moscow
opposes the Bush Administration’s ideas for a missile defense system in Europe, and
has reportedly spurned a range of proposals to include Russia in the system.79 Some
European governments argue that NATO and the EU must maintain a fully open
74 Interviews with European officials, February 2008.
75 “Putin Threatens Ukraine on NATO,” Washington Post, February 13, 2008.
76 CRS Report RS22409, NATO and Energy Security, by Paul Gallis.
77 See, for example, Dan Bilefsky and Stephen Castle, “NATO Can’t Be Cowed by Kremlin,
U.S. Says,” International Herald Tribune, September 15, 2008; Robert Farley, “But What
Does it Mean for NATO?” American Prospect online, August 15, 2008. Available at
[http://www.prospect.org]; and John Vincour, “Relying on Russia: A Question of Risks,”
International Herald Tribune, September 22, 2008.
78 “An Assertive Russia Sends Chill Through Baltics,” International Herald Tribune,
November 12, 2007.
79 Interviews with Bush Administration officials, May 2007-January 2008; see also CRS
Report RL34051, Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe, by Carl Ek and Steven
communication with Moscow and continue to seek to find a measure of
accommodation under these circumstances. Again, at the same time, the allies assert
that Russia must not be allowed effectively to veto further NATO enlargement, or
any NATO policies.
The August 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia has also led to renewed
discussion within NATO over the alliance’s collective defense clause, enshrined in
Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. Article 5, considered by most to be the
defining feature of the alliance, obligates allies to defend against an armed attack on
NATO soil. Observers disagree as to whether Russia would have invaded Georgian
territory had Georgia been a NATO member, and as to how NATO would have
responded in the case of such an event. However, the conflict has provoked more
serious consideration both of the possibility of armed conflict between NATO and
Russia and of NATO’s willingness to respond in the event of a similar attack on a
NATO ally. The Baltic states and Poland have voiced particular concern regarding
the credibility of Article 5 as a guarantor of collective defense. Debate over Article
5 stands to intensify as NATO considers further enlargement within areas considered
by Russia as falling within its traditional sphere of influence and as Russia seeks to
exert influence in these areas.
Most allies seem to believe that although Albania’s and Croatia’s militaries and
resources are modest, both countries’ road to membership in the alliance could lead
to greater stability in southeastern Europe, especially given the independence of
Kosovo and the enduring hostility to NATO of important political factions in Serbia.
Additionally, the United States and several other leading governments in the alliance
expect new member states to develop niche capabilities to contribute to NATO
operations around the world. More broadly, U.S. officials continue to view NATO
as the primary institutional mechanism to ensure transatlantic security. They argue
that although NATO’s primary purpose is the defense of its members, the alliance
has become a force for peace throughout Europe.80
NATO is facing current and future challenges that may shape any following
rounds of enlargement. An ongoing strategic concern of the alliance is the
stabilization of Afghanistan, which has become the alliance’s most important
mission. In addition, NATO faces other issues such as global terrorism, cyber-
attacks, and strategically, two of the most important, energy security and relations
with Russia. Gazprom, Russia’s national energy company, has been making strong
efforts to control parts of Europe’s oil and natural gas distribution network. Even
without such control, much of Europe and the Caucasus depend upon Russia for
portions of their energy supply. Gazprom’s repeated supply disruptions to customer
countries underscore a stark reality: Russia can cut off a vital lifeline if it so desires.
Countermeasures — new pipelines skirting Russia and drawing supplies from a range
of sources, and conservation — will require years of planning and implementation,
probably at great expense. Some allies believe that energy security must be enhanced
80 See testimony of Daniel Fried, September 10, 2008, op. cit.
before new members in succeeding rounds may be extended invitations to join,
particularly if they are vulnerable to Russian pressure. Concurrent efforts to improve
relations with Russia are likely to be a centerpiece of European allies’ policy during
Appendix. Legislation on Enlargement
in the 109th and 110th Congresses81
The Senate has assented to all five rounds of NATO enlargement. Congress has
played a particularly active role in shaping the alliance’s eastward expansion since
the end of the Cold War. In the NATO Participation Act of 1994 (title II of P.L. 103-
447), Congress for the first time authorized the president both to assist designated
former Soviet Bloc countries to become full NATO members and to provide excess
defense articles, international military education and training, and foreign military
financing assistance to these countries. In subsequent legislation in 1996, 1998, and
while outlining the conditions under which such enlargement should take place.82
Before ratifying the treaty protocols enabling the alliance’s 1998 and 2004
enlargements, the Senate broke with past practice, subjecting its approval of the
protocols to several conditions. One such condition, as articulated in the Senate’s
resolutions of ratification for both enlargements, requires the president to submit to
the appropriate congressional committees a detailed report on each country being
actively considered for NATO membership before beginning accession talks and to
submit updated reports on each country before signing any protocols of accession.
Specifically, these reports are to include an evaluation of how a country being
actively considered for NATO membership will further the principles of NATO and
contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area; an evaluation of the country’s
eligibility for membership, including military readiness; an explanation of how an
invitation to the country would affect the national security interests of the United
States; a U.S. government analysis of common-funded military requirements and
costs associated with integrating the country into NATO and an analysis of the shares
of those costs to be borne by NATO members; and a preliminary analysis of the
budgetary implications for the United States of integrating that country into NATO.83
81 Prepared by Paul Belkin, Analyst in European Affairs.
82 See the NATO Enlargement Facilitation Act of 1996 (title VI of section 101(c) of title I
of division A of P.L. 104-208 ), the European Security Act of 1998 (title XXVII of division
G of P.L. 105-277), and the Gerald B.H. Solomon Freedom Consolidation Act of 2002 (P.L.
107-187). For more information, see CRS Report RL30192, NATO: Congress Addresses
Expansion of the Alliance, by Paul Gallis; Senate Executive Report 108-6, submitted by the
Committee on Foreign Relations to accompany Treaty Doc. 108-04 Protocols to the North
Atlantic Treaty of 1949 on Accession of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania,
Slovakia, and Slovenia, April 30, 2003; and CRS Report RS21055, NATO Enlargement, by
83 See Resolution of Ratification of Treaty Document 105-36, Protocols to the North
Atlantic Treaty of 1949 on Accession of Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic, as agreed
to in the Senate on April 30, 1998; and Resolution of Ratification of Treaty Document 108-
Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, as agreed to in the Senate on May 8, 2003. For
a detailed discussion of the Senate’s role in NATO enlargement see CRS Report RL31915,
NATO Enlargement: Senate Advice and Consent, by Michael John Garcia.
Members of the 109th and 110th Congresses have expressed continued support
for NATO enlargement. On September 29, 2006, toward the end of the 109th
Congress, Senator Richard Lugar introduced S. 4014, the Freedom Consolidation Act
of 2006. The bill, expressing support for NATO enlargement and designating
Albania, Croatia, Georgia, and Macedonia as eligible to receive assistance under the
NATO Participation Act of 2004, passed the Senate on November 16, 2006. S. 4014
was referred to the House International Relations Committee but was not taken up
before the end of the 109th Congress.
In the 110th Congress, both chambers passed successor bills to the bill that
passed the Senate in the 109th Congress. The NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of
2007, introduced by Senator Lugar on February 6, 2007, passed the Senate by
unanimous consent on March 15, 2007. A companion bill, H.R. 987, introduced by
Representative John Tanner in the House on February 12, 2007, passed the House on
March 6. President Bush signed it into law (P.L. 110-17) April 9, 2007. The NATO
Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007 reaffirms the United States’ “commitment to
further enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to include European
democracies that are able and willing to meet the responsibilities of membership...”84
The act calls for the “timely admission” of Albania, Croatia, Georgia, the “Republic
of Macedonia (FYROM),” and Ukraine to NATO, recognizes progress made by
Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia on their Membership Action Plans (MAPs), and
applauds political and military advances made by Georgia and Ukraine while
signaling regret that the alliance has not entered into a MAP with either country.
Congress also affirms that admission of these five countries into NATO should be
“contingent upon their continued implementation of democratic, defense, and
economic reform, and their willingness and ability to meet the responsibilities of
membership in [NATO] and a clear expression of national intent to do so.”85
In addition to expressing support for the candidacies and potential candidacies
of Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, and Ukraine, the NATO Freedom
Consolidation Act of 2007 authorizes FY2008 appropriations for security assistance
to each of these countries. This assistance shall be consistent with the conditions set
by the NATO Participation Act of 1994, which limit the types of security assistance
offered by the United States to prospective NATO member states to the transfer of
excess defense articles (as determined under section 516 and 519 of the Foreign
Assistance Act), international military education and training (as determined under
chapter 5 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act), and foreign military financing
assistance (as determined under section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act).
According to the NATO Participation Act, security assistance should encourage joint
planning, training, and military exercises with NATO forces, greater interoperability,
and conformity of military doctrine.86
84 NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-17), 3(2). See also Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, S.Rept. 110-34 on the NATO Freedom and Consolidation Act of
85 Ibid. Sec 2(22).
86 NATO Participation Act of 1994, Sec. 203.
Both the Senate and House have expressed further support for a strengthening
of Allied relations with Georgia and Ukraine, passing companion resolutions
expressing strong support “for [NATO] to enter into a Membership Action Plan with
Georgia and Ukraine.”87 The resolutions draw attention to contributions made by
Georgia and Ukraine to the collective security of the alliance, and highlight progress
made in each country towards a stronger relationship with NATO. In what could be
an effort to address some European allies’ concern that a MAP would be understood
as a guarantee of future NATO membership, the resolutions explicitly state that a
MAP does not ensure membership. On September 9, 2008, in response to the August
conflict between Russia and Georgia, Representative John Shimkus (IL) introduced
H.Con.Res. 409, expressing the support of the Congress for awarding a membership
action plan (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine at the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting
in December 2008. Although the U.S. government continues to express its support
for such a decision, some European allies have reinforced their position that now
would not be an appropriate time to extend such as invitation. They cite the
uncertainty over the Georgian political situation as well as the recent collapse of the
government coalition in Ukraine.
As discussed earlier in the report, congressional deliberation over post-Cold
War NATO enlargement has revolved largely around three issues: cost;
burdensharing; and relations with Russia. In terms of cost, the Congressional Budget
Office (CBO) estimates that additional costs to the United States associated with
NATO expansion to the five countries designated in the NATO Freedom
Consolidation Act would not exceed $30 million over the 2008-2012 period. Based
on the State Department’s 2008 appropriation request, CBO estimates that outlays
would total $12 million of 2008, and $30 million over the period from 2008-2012.88
Neither the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act nor the accompanying Senate
Foreign Relations Committee Report directly addresses potential concerns regarding
burdensharing within the alliance or the effect a further round of enlargement might
have on relations with Russia. However, Members of the 110th Congress have
expressed such concerns in several congressional hearings, and Members on the
United States congressional delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly are
said to have discussed these issues with their European counterparts, as well as with
officials in Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia.89
87 S.Res. 439, introduced by Senator Lugar, passed the Senate on February 14, 2008. H.Res.
88 Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate, S. 494 NATO Freedom Consolidation Act
of 2007, March 9, 2007. Included in S.Rept. 110-34, op. cit.
89 Members of Congress expressed some concerns as to an expanded alliance and the effect
of enlargement on NATO and U.S. relations with Russia during a July 2007 House
Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on central and eastern Europe, a March 4, 2008
Helsinki Commission hearing on NATO enlargement, and March 11 and September 10,
Figure 1. Europe