NATO - Topic: Membership Action Plan (MAP)

The Membership Action Plan (MAP) is a NATO programme of advice, assistance and practical support tailored to the individual needs of countries wishing to join the Alliance. Participation in the MAP does not prejudge any decision by the Alliance on future membership.

Current participants in the MAP are the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1, which has been participating in the MAP since 1999, and Montenegro, which was invited to join in December 2009. Welcoming progress made in its reform efforts, in April 2010, the Allies formally invited Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the MAP with one important condition: the first Annual National Programme under the MAP will only be accepted by NATO once a key remaining issue concerning immovable defence property has been resolved.

Countries participating in the MAP submit individual annual national programmes on their preparations for possible future membership. These cover political, economic, defence, resource, security and legal aspects.

The MAP process provides a focused and candid feedback mechanism on aspirant countries' progress on their programmes. This includes both political and technical advice, as well as annual meetings between all NATO members and individual aspirants at the level of the North Atlantic Council to assess progress, on the basis of an annual progress report. A key element is the defence planning approach for aspirants, which includes elaboration and review of agreed planning targets.

Throughout the year, meetings and workshops with NATO civilian and military experts in various fields allow for discussion of the entire spectrum of issues relevant to membership.

The MAP was launched in April 1999 at the Alliance’s Washington Summit to help countries aspiring to NATO membership in their preparations. The process drew heavily on the experience gained during the accession process of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, which had joined NATO in the Alliance’s first post-Cold War round of enlargement in 1999.

Participation in the MAP

Participation in the MAP has helped prepare the seven countries that joined NATO in the second post-Cold War round of enlargement in 2004 (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) as well as Albania and Croatia, which joined in April 2009.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1 continues to participate in the MAP – Allied leaders have agreed to invite the country to become a member as soon as a mutually acceptable solution to the issue over the country’s name has been reached with Greece.

When NATO foreign ministers invited Montenegro to join the MAP in December 2009, they also assured Bosnia and Herzegovina that it will be able to join once it has achieved the necessary progress in its reform efforts.

In April 2010, NATO foreign ministers at their meeting in Tallinn, reviewed progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s reform efforts and invited the country to join the Membership Action Plan. However, they authorized the North Atlantic Council to accept the country’s first Annual National Programme only when the immovable property issue has been resolved.