Saturday

27th Aug 2016

Nato expansion unlikely before late 2015

  • US defence chief Hagel (r) talks with Sweden's defence minister, at a meeting of the 'enhanced co-operation group' in Wales on Friday

Nato leaders have indicated the alliance will not take in any aspirant states until late next year.

Its secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said at the Nato summit in Wales on Friday (5 September): “We will assess, at the end of 2015 at the latest, whether to invite Montenegro to join the alliance”.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He added that the two sides will “intensify” co-operation in the meantime, with Nato officials saying Montenegro still has homework on technical military standards.

Two other countries - Bosnia and Macedonia - have membership action plans.

Georgia has asked to join. Opinion surveys in Ukraine after Russia invaded the country say most people also want to be in the alliance.

Rasmussen noted that Georgia’s next step is to become part of an “enhanced co-operation group”, together with Australia, Jordan, Moldova, and Sweden.

He did not mention Ukraine.

But he added, alluding to Russia’s opposition to Nato expansion, that: “Nato’s door remains open. Each country will continue to be judged on its merits and no third party has a veto over Nato enlargement”.

Ukraine is planning to introduce a bill to scrap its non-aligned status so that it can apply one day.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, speaking in Wales on Wednesday, indicated that he might hold a referendum on the question in the coming years.

“When the country will be adequately prepared for the [technical] criteria of membership, the Ukrainian people will decide”, he said.

But German chancellor Angela Merkel told German press the same evening that Ukrainian accession is not on Nato’s agenda at this time.

On Bosnia, a Nato official said it is stuck in limbo, due, in part, to disagreements between ethnic Serbs and Bosniaks on which bits of the federation should host which military bases.

He added that Greece-Macedonia talks “have not gone well” on the name dispute, which has seen Greece veto Macedonia’s Nato entry because Macedonia uses the same name as a bordering Greek province.

Rasmussen’s comments on Russia’s non-veto come despite the risk that pro-Russia forces will occupy east and south Ukraine in a frozen conflict designed to stop it from joining Western blocs.

The situation already exists in Georgia and Moldova, where Russian soldiers protect three breakaway republics.

The Nato official added that a border dispute does not categorically rule out Nato entry, however.

“It’s not a show-stopper”, he said, noting that Norway joined the alliance despite having a maritime boundary dispute with Russia at the time.

Two other Nordic nations - Finland and Sweden - at the Nato summit signed a “host nation status” agreement which allows Nato troops to deploy on their territory in future.

Neither has joined Nato because Finland is wary of antagonising Russia, but both have worked on Nato “inter-operability” for several years.

Asked by EUobserver if Rasmussen’s mention of late-2015 means no new members until that time, the Nato official said “unless of course Finland or Sweden opt to join … if they do, they would walk in within a week”.

Slovakia's Fico goes to Russia

The Slovak prime minister, whose country currently chairs the EU council, will meet the Russian leader ahead of upcoming EU talks on Russia policy.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey