NATO Keeps Door Open for New Members

The US-led alliance has pledged to keep its doors open for potential new members in Europe.

NATO has reaffirmed its commitment to an open-door policy, stating that it will continue to welcome countries seeking to join the alliance. NATO leaders outlined these policies during their summit in Washington, D.C., which commemorated the bloc’s 75th anniversary.

“The Western Balkans and the Black Sea regions are strategically significant for the alliance,” NATO members declared in their final statement. They committed to assisting countries in the region to “counter malign influence, including disinformation, hybrid, and cyber threats, posed by both state and non-state actors.”

“NATO supports the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of interested countries in this region,” the declaration stated.

The US-led alliance welcomed Montenegro as a member in 2017. Neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina has been engaged in intermittent accession talks since 2008. Milorad Dodik, the leader of the Serb entity of the federation, recently declared that he would prevent Bosnia and Herzegovina from joining NATO in the future.

NATO leads the peacekeeping force in Kosovo, which was deployed in 1999 after the alliance intervened on behalf of ethnic Albanian separatists and launched airstrikes against Serbia.

Russia has asserted that it views NATO’s eastward expansion as a threat to its national security, citing the alliance’s military cooperation with Ukraine as a key factor contributing to the conflict.

In December 2021, Russia proposed that NATO abandon its open-door approach to accepting new members and sign a comprehensive security treaty with Moscow. The alliance rejected this proposal, stating that the open-door principle is non-negotiable.