A decade in NATO for Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia

Seven new members joined NATO on March 29, 2004.


1. Maybe also in the light of current events on Ukraine how important or unimportant is NATO for new members and how important or unimportant those seven nations are for NATO ?

2. How did the new member states accommodate to life in NATO, anything special comes to your mind when I say NATO and Slovakia?


Peter Doran, Director of Research, Center for European Policy Analysis

1. Events in Ukraine show us why NATO was created in the first place – to protect its members from invasion. For the newest members of the alliance, Crimea also demonstrates why NATO must remain the gold standard in 21st century collective defense. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea shows that Article 5 contingencies should not be hypothetical concepts, but real-world imperatives. New members can help by leading the charge to provide a stronger deterrent against outside threats. For starters, let’s focus NATO training efforts on territorial protection. This would benefit all members of NATO – and it’s something the alliance can do right now.

2. Since joining NATO, the newer member states have injected the alliance with a remarkable amount of energy and creativity. I’d say that NATO is better off today thanks to the contributions of countries like Slovakia. But that contribution could be much greater. After Crimea, this is a great time for Slovak leaders to recall their treaty-obligated promise to spend 2% of GDP on defense. Slovakia is not meeting that benchmark. This should change. When it does, Slovakia can better assist its fellow members in being more responsive to new security threats from the east.

Sven Biscop, Director of the Europe in the World Programme, Egmont – Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels

– The crisis highlights the importance of Article 5, our security guarantee, and thus of the Alliance.

– However, NATO’s role in the crisis is to provide its own members/the members of the EU with self-confidence, by assuring them that thanks to Article 5, their own territory is not under threat.

– Armed with that self-confidence, these European countries can, through the EU, take the lead in addressing the crisis through diplomacy.

– NATO itself is not the good forum to address the crisis itself: the more military posturing through the Alliance, the more difficult for Putin to find a face-saving way out of the crisis.


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