Accession of North Macedonia to NATO
North Macedonia is currently in the process of acceding to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a member state. In 1995, the country joined the Partnership for Peace. It then began taking part in various NATO missions, including the 1999 NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Two years later, NATO intervened in the 2001 Macedonian insurgency. At the 2008 Bucharest summit, Greece vetoed the country's invitation to join; however NATO nations agreed that the country would receive an invitation upon resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute. Following an agreement in June 2018 to rename the country the "Republic of North Macedonia", the permanent representatives to NATO of the member states signed a protocol on the accession of North Macedonia to NATO on 6 February 2019.
|Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the Accession of the Republic of North Macedonia|
Current NATO members
|Signed||February 6, 2019|
|Effective||not in force|
|Condition||Entry into force of the accession treaty after ratification by all current NATO members. Membership of North Macedonia starts after deposit of its instrument of accession after the treaty has entered into force.|
|Languages||English and French|
The then Republic of Macedonia joined the Partnership for Peace in 1995, and commenced its Membership Action Plan in 1999, at the same time as Albania. Participating in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, it received aid from NATO in dealing with refugees fleeing from Kosovo. In August 2001, NATO intervened in the 2001 insurgency, during which rebel Albanian group, the National Liberation Army, fought government forces. In Operation Essential Harvest, NATO troops joined with the local military to disarm rebel forces following a cease-fire agreement.
At the 2008 Bucharest summit, Greece vetoed the Republic of Macedonia's invitation to join, however NATO nations agreed that the country would receive an invitation upon resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute. Greece felt that its neighbor's constitutional name implies territorial aspirations against its own region of Macedonia. After the veto, Greece was sued in the International Court of Justice, over the use of "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" as an acceptable option with which to enter NATO, while Greece counterargued that it was a collective decision of NATO not to invite the Republic of Macedonia, and therefore the interim accord signed between the two countries was not violated. Greece also considered blocking the Republic of Macedonia's accession to the European Union over the naming dispute. Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked the Republic of Macedonia and Greece to find an "acceptable solution" to the dispute, so that the Republic of Macedonia would be free to join NATO. In 2014, prior to the 65th anniversary of its founding, NATO announced that it would not be offering any new countries membership in the organization that year. Some analysts, such as Jorge Benitez of the Atlantic Council think tank, argued that this reluctance was partly due to the new security climate after Russia's annexation of Crimea. There has been continued debate about how Russia will view the republic's accession.
Following an agreement in June 2018 to rename the country the Republic of North Macedonia, NATO agreed to consider extending an invitation to the country to join at its summit on 11–12 July. On 11 July 2018, NATO invited the republic to begin membership talks, saying the country could join the organization once the naming issue was resolved. Formal accession talks began on 18 October 2018. On February 6, 2019, the permanent representatives to NATO of the member states signed a protocol on the accession of North Macedonia to NATO.
|Partnership for Peace||1995-11-15|
|Membership Action Plan||1999-04-19|
|Invitation to join||2018-07-11|
During the Kosovo War of 1999, the Macedonian government maintained a pro-NATO position. A majority of the population of the Republic of Macedonia criticised the government stance and opposed NATO intervention in Kosovo due to fears over irredentism from ethnic Albanian Macedonians, the unstable economy, disruption of trade brought about by war, and Slavic solidarity with Serbs. Prime Minister Ljubčo Georgievski stated during the war that anti-NATO sentiment was the "second biggest threat" to the country after the arrival of Albanian refugees from Kosovo. The country's Albanian population supported NATO and its intervention to assist the Albanians of Kosovo.
In 2008, a poll following the NATO summit showed that 82.5% of ethnic Macedonian citizens opposed changing their country's constitutional name in order to join NATO. NATO membership in general in 2008 was supported by 85.2% of the population. Elections were called following the 2008 summit, resulting in further support for the center-right pro-NATO party, VMRO-DPMNE. The elections were marred by violence that attracted criticism from NATO members.
In a statewide 2010 survey, 80.02% of respondents said they would vote for the Republic of Macedonia to become part of NATO if a referendum on accession were to take place. In another survey, some 65% of ethnic Macedonians expressed that they opposed a name change of the state as being the price for NATO membership.
In a 2016 poll, some 68% of ethnic Macedonians supported joining NATO, possibly under the FYROM name.
Albanians of North Macedonia harbour strongly pro-NATO sentiments.
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