General Information on NATO

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) – is an international organization founded on April 4, 1949 in response to collective defense of Western Europe countries and North America according to the principles of Article 51 of the UN Charter.

In accordance with the Washington Treaty, each member state of the Alliance has an additional responsibility and benefits from participation in the system of collective security. Article 5 refers that “an armed attack against one or several of Allies will be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area”.

In times of the Cold War, the Alliance never used military force against third countries or in order to affect the member states.

At present, NATO has 30 members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia. Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for admission to NATO.

All decisions in the Alliance are made on consensus-building base. Each member state has a veto power.

NATO does not have its own armed forces, and the Alliance has at its disposal armed forces of member states. (Some member states do not have their own armies at all, in particular Luxembourg and Iceland).

Every member state has a right to withdraw from the Alliance. In the story of organization, the right was exercised by France and Greece who withdrew from the NATO’s military structure in 1966 and 1947, respectively, but staying in the political structure. In 1980 full membership of Greece in military structure was renewed. France also resumed its membership in NATO’s military structure as reported during 2009 Strasbourg-Kehl Summit of NATO to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of organization.

NATO develops an extensive partnership system which includes the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Ukraine and Georgia of the Distinctive Partnership with NATO, countries of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue partnership (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia), NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates), neutral Western Europe countries (Austria, Ireland, Malta, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden), and also contact countries (Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan).

In September, 2015 the Secretary General of NATO signed an Agreement with the Ukrainian Government establishing the NATO Representation comprising the two NATO bodies operating in Ukraine – NATO Information and Documentation Centre
and NATO Liaison Office (NLO) in Ukraine.

For more information, please visit Ukraine-NATO web-page:

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