NATO Countries | North Atlantic Treaty Organization Members 2020

What does NATO stand for?

NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between countries in North America and Europe.

When was NATO formed?

NATO was formed following World War II. Its founding treaty was signed in Washington D.C. in 1949 by a dozen European and North American countries.

Why was NATO formed?

The NATO alliance was formed as a response to the threat posed after the Second World War by the Soviet Union. NATO’s purpose was to protect democratic nations against the spread of communism in Europe. NATO’s website states “It commits the Allies to democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law, as well as to peaceful resolution of disputes. Importantly, the treaty sets out the idea of collective defense, meaning that an attack against one Ally is considered an attack against all Allies.”

NATO Founders

The 12 founding member countries of NATO are:

NATO Members

Members of NATO have agreed to a system of collective defense for its members. This means that member states will step in and offer mutual defense when an outside party attacks one of the member states.

NATO also has what it calls aspiring members, who one day may join other states within NATO. This includes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia and Ukraine. There are also 21 countries that are members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. This program is designed to build trust between the organization and states in Europe and the former Soviet Union. Members of this program include former republics of the Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Members of the program that are former republics of Yugoslavia are Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. European Union members of the program include Austria, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden. Finally, the European Free Trade Association member Switzerland is also part of the Partnership for Peace program.

Is Ukraine part of NATO? Ukraine is not part of NATO, but it is an aspiring member. Ukraine and NATO relations started in 1994, and applied to begin a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) in 2008. The 2010 presidential election of Viktor Yanukovych, who wanted to keep the country non-aligned, delayed Ukraine’s MA. After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, Ukraine’s new government made joining NATO a priority and Ukraine became a NATO aspiring member in 2018. On February 7, 2019, the Ukrainian parliament voted to change their constitution in order to help the country join NATO and the European Union.

Is Russia part of NATO? Russia is not part of NATO. The Russia-NATO Council was established in 2002 for handling security issues and joint projects. NATO decided to suspended cooperation with Russia in 2014 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, not including the NATO-Russia Council. Russia and NATO have held several meetings since 2016, and NATO states that an improvement in their relationship with Russia is dependent on Russia’s compliance with international law and their commitments.

Is Turkey part of NATO? Yes, Turkey joined NATO in 1952.

Country Year Joined NATO Population 2020
Albania20092,877,797
Belgium194911,589,623
Bulgaria20046,948,445
Canada194937,742,154
Croatia20094,105,267
Czech Republic199910,708,981
Denmark19495,792,202
Estonia20041,326,535
France194965,273,511
Germany195583,783,942
Greece195210,423,054
Hungary19999,660,351
Iceland1949341,243
Italy194960,461,826
Latvia20041,886,198
Lithuania20042,722,289
Luxembourg1949625,978
Montenegro2017628,066
Netherlands194917,134,872
Norway19495,421,241
Poland199937,846,611
Portugal194910,196,709
Romania200419,237,691
Slovakia20045,459,642
Slovenia20042,078,938
Spain198246,754,778
Turkey195284,339,067
United Kingdom194967,886,011
United States1949331,002,651