North Macedonia becomes 30th NATO member

30.03.2020 - Article

North Macedonia’s accession to NATO was officially concluded today with the traditional raising of the country’s flag. Foreign Minister Maas welcomed the new Ally and paid tribute to the Government for its path of reform that made its accession possible.

Raising of the flag of North Macedonia in front of NATO headquarters in Brussels
Raising of the flag of North Macedonia in front of NATO headquarters in Brussels© Federal Foreign Office

The accession of North Macedonia to NATO marks the end of a long journey of perseverance since the commencement of negotiations in 2008. An important precondition for accession was the resolution of the name dispute between Greece and North Macedonia last year. Foreign Minister Maas paid tribute to the political courage and diplomatic skill with which the 2018 Prespa agreement made a resolution between the Governments in Skopje and Athens possible. In addition to this, the reform policy of recent years paved the way to NATO accession.

Foreign Minister Maas said the following: “The Federal Government is looking forward to working with our new Ally North Macedonia.”

The Permanent Representatives of the 29 NATO member countries signed the accession protocol in the North Atlantic Council last year. Since then, North Macedonia has enjoyed observer status in the Alliance. Following ratification by all 29 NATO member countries, the last formal step towards full membership was taken today with the flag-raising ceremony. The Federal Government firmly believes that the country’s accession will help to strengthen security and stability throughout the region.

Foreign Minister Maas said the following in this regard:

NATO’s open door policy is helping to safeguard freedom, democracy and human rights.

Who may become a NATO member?

According to the Helsinki Final Act, each country in Europe is free to choose its own security policy alliance membership. As part of its “open door policy”, NATO is open to admitting new members as a matter of principle. Accession to the Alliance is determined on the basis of the criteria of the North Atlantic Treaty. The NATO member countries “may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty”. The candidates are also required to fulfil political criteria, including a democratic political system, market economy and the will to resolve conflicts peacefully.


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