In December 1996, NATO countries expressed the intention to name one or more candidate states for membership at the alliance summit in Madrid on July 8-9, 1997. Designation of candidates would be the first significant step in the process of admitting central European countries. NATO has set a target date of April 1999 for completion of current members' constitutional processes to revise the North Atlantic Treaty to incorporate new members.
Expansion of the alliance has triggered a broad debate about NATO's purpose and future. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO's missions have been evolving. The Clinton Administration believes that enlargement will enhance NATO's ability to strengthen those new missions and build stability in Europe.
During the Cold War, NATO's overriding objective was to deter or defend against an attack on western Europe by the Soviet Union and its allies. Collective defense has been the cornerstone of the alliance, expressed in Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, where each member pledges to assist another under attack with "such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security" of the Treaty area.1 Today, Russian conventional forces are in disarray, and Russia could not become a threat to its neighbors for at least a decade. However, most allied states continue to emphasize NATO's traditional core mission of collective defense, in the event that Russia one day again adopts a threatening posture. Officials in candidate states privately emphasize that they view collective defense under Article V as the principal reason for their desire to join NATO.
In the 1990s, in the absence of a Russian threat, the alliance has taken on new missions, such as peacekeeping, peace-enforcing, crisis management, and humanitarian assistance. According to NATO's Strategic Concept of 1991, endorsed by all members of the alliance, "risks to allied security are less likely to result from calculated aggression against the territory of the allies, but rather from the adverse consequences of instabilities that may arise from the serious economic, social and political difficulties" arising from ethnic and territorial disputes in central Europe.2 Allied force posture reflects this change. The positional defense characterized by heavy armored divisions of the Cold War has gradually changed into lighter, more mobile forces for projection into areas beyond NATO's current borders. This new configuration is a key factor in determining whether candidate states for NATO membership can contribute to the alliance's purposes, and how much the restructuring and modernization of candidate states' militaries will cost.
A range of issues related to NATO's missions is influencing the selection of candidate states. Current members do not wish to see enlargement dilute the political likemindedness and military capability of the alliance. At the same time, most member states recognize that stability in central Europe could be enhanced by admitting states with a demonstrated record of building democratic structures, settling longstanding disputes with neighbors, and opening their markets to competition and investment, even if the path to these objectives is not yet fully travelled. Candidate states must be able to contribute to NATO's missions. That contribution, however, may not be immediate. In the view of the Clinton Administration and the European allies, few, if any, of the prospective candidate states could today contribute meaningfully to countering an Article V threat. NATO members reason that, since there is no such threat for the foreseeable future, candidate states could first be admitted, then develop a capacity over the next decade to contribute to collective defense and participate in the nearer term in other, less demanding, missions.3
Current members are evaluating candidate states, therefore, with several considerations in mind. In the effort to maintain public support, one concern is that NATO develop a coherent purpose in an era when not easily defined risks, such as nuclear proliferation, have replaced the once readily identifiable threat of the Soviet Union. Concern about a possible nationalist backlash in Russia against enlargement has led to the negotiation of the "Founding Act" between NATO and Russia, as well as a prospective initial enlargement that will not include countries once part of the Soviet Union.4 Lingering concerns remain among many current members about the political stability of prospective members and about their capacity to contribute concretely to the alliance's defense posture and to the costs of enlargement. Some current members are reluctant players in the enlargement process, and have other concerns with priority over enlargement: the future course of the European Union (EU), a key to stability on the continent; European Monetary Union (EMU) and attendant budgetary pressures; the coaxing of stability in Bosnia; and national elections. Each is an issue that will compete in importance with the process of NATO enlargement.
This study reviews the history of the process of enlargement, discusses the Madrid summit, describes the nature of accession agreements for prospective members, and analyzes the allies' views towards expansion. An appendix sketches the constitutional process to approve enlargement for each NATO member.
Article X of the North Atlantic Treaty describes the process for inviting a state to join the alliance. Article X applies directly to the discussions at the Madrid summit. "By unanimous agreement," current members may invite a state to begin accession negotiations. If current members' governments all agree upon one or more candidates, NATO will then begin negotiations for accession with each of those states. Article XI, discussed below in the section on the views of individual member states, addresses the next step, which is the constitutional route for approval of an amended Treaty admitting the candidates.
There have been three past expansions of the alliance: Greece and Turkey were admitted in 1952; Germany in 1955; and Spain in 1982. In each instance, one protocol was submitted to member states for approval (i.e., there was one protocol in 1952 that named both Greece and Turkey, and not a separate protocol for each state.) These accessions occurred during the Cold War, and the admission of these four states was not controversial. In the United States, the admissions of Greece and Turkey, and then Germany, were approved by wide margins in the Senate, and Spain's by a voice vote. The Senate and the Executive Branch viewed the admission of these countries as contributing to the strategic weight of the alliance against the Soviet Union. There has not been an occasion in which an accession agreement was negotiated with an aspiring member, and that aspirant was then rejected.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in considering the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949, commented in its report that the admission of new members "might radically alter our obligations under the pact." The Committee therefore sought, and received, a commitment from President Truman that a president would consider any admission of a new member to constitute a new treaty, requiring the advice and consent of the Senate. This practice has been followed in admitting each new state. Two-thirds of all Senators present in the Chamber must vote to consent to ratification of the Protocol admitting a state. The Protocol enters into force when the President signs it.5
The Clinton Administration, backed above all by Germany, proposed expansion of the alliance at the January 1994 NATO summit. At that summit, some allies wished to explore the issue before committing themselves to admit new members. The allies established the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program at the 1994 summit. PfP provides a framework for evaluating states that may be interested in joining NATO. The program offers training to states in such areas as development of civilian control of the military, NATO practices in military doctrine or operations in the field, and peacekeeping. Critics have contended that PfP was simply a means to forestall enlargement. Proponents counter that PfP has provided the necessary time and basic steps to acclimate prospective members to NATO thinking and practices.6
At the 1994 summit, a second decision, after the establishment of PfP, was made in keeping with the European allies' desire to proceed cautiously towards enlargement. They agreed to undertake a study that would describe the path towards enlargement. The study was released in September 1995, and stated that new members must accept the full range of NATO responsibilities, such as building a military able to contribute to collective defense. The study noted that new members would be under the protection of strategic nuclear forces committed to NATO's defense, but that there was no near-term need for basing nuclear weapons or other member states' conventional forces in large numbers on the territories of new members.7
A further step in the process of enlargement came at the 1996 NATO Ministerial. The Final Communiqué recommended that heads of government of NATO states, at the July 1997 summit, invite "one or more" candidate states to begin accession negotiations. It noted that the alliance "will remain open to the accession of further members...." The Communiqué stated the goal is to admit "new member(s) by the time of NATO's 50th anniversary in [April] 1999."8
Most European allies wished to establish relations with Russia on firmer footing before proceeding with enlargement. In 1996, France proposed negotiation of a NATO-Russia "charter" that would outline a cooperative framework in security matters. The Clinton Administration was at first doubtful about the proposal, but allied support for the idea ultimately led to negotiations, in which the United States played a key role. On May 27, 1997, the negotiations resulted in a document called the "Founding Act." It touched upon a wide range of issues. NATO reiterated that it had "no intention, no plan, and no reason" in the foreseeable future to station nuclear weapons on new members' soil, but that it may do so should the need arise. NATO further stated that military infrastructure "adequate" to assure new members' security under Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty would be maintained on their territory. The alliance pledged not to place "substantial combat forces" in the "current and foreseeable security environment" on new members' territory, but underscored an intention to increase interoperability, integration, and reinforcement capabilities with the new states. The Founding Act also established a NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council to consult on matters of mutual interest, such as peacekeeping, nuclear and biological weapons proliferation, and terrorism, but not on NATO or Russian internal matters.9
The Founding Act reflected the concerns of some allies that Russia be consulted during the enlargement process. At the same time, critics of the Founding Act in allied countries and in Russia contended that President Yeltsin had little choice but to sign the document, especially in light of clear indications that the alliance would proceed to enlargement with or without Moscow's acquiescence, and that the document gave Russia no substantive influence over NATO decisionmaking. In the United States, some critics contended that the document gave Russia a foothold in NATO decisionmaking, and that Russia might use the opening to prevent the alliance from implementing new missions such as crisis management and peacekeeping.10
The central issue at the Madrid summit will be enlargement, although other issues such as agreement over a new alliance command structure, enhancing Partnership for Peace, and further refinement of the Combined Joint Task Forces concept will be pursued as well.11
On June 12, 1997, President Clinton announced that the United States would support the candidacies of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary for admission to NATO. Administration officials believe that these three states have made the most progress in reforming their militaries, developing democratic institutions and a free market, and ensuring civilian control of the military. They also believe that there is a consensus in favor of these three countries, but not over additional countries; in this view, pursuing a "smaller" enlargement of three rather than a "larger" one of five states promises a greater chance of success when the issue is before member state legislatures.
Several additional considerations contributed to the Administration's decision to support only three countries. An enlargement of three countries would presumably be less costly, given the expenses likely for current members in supporting the modernization and restructuring of new states' militaries. In addition, decisionmaking in the alliance is already cumbersome, and a smaller enlargement would be easier to assimilate. The Administration also wishes to underscore that enlargement is an "open process;" efforts by Romania and Slovenia to qualify for entry, and the two countries' support within the alliance, make them possible future candidates, should a first enlargement in fact take place and the new members prove to be productive allies. Administration officials have said for approximately a year that the Baltic states' militaries are not sufficiently strong to contribute meaningfully to collective defense. Some U.S. and allied officials privately state that the Baltic states cannot now be adequately defended under Article V due to their geographic location, and that countries that cannot be defended should not be admitted.
Finally, some Administration officials wish to raise the bar of qualification as high as possible. Romania has only recently moved firmly on the path towards mature democracy, and is struggling to implement a free-market economy. Officials believe that it must make further progress towards civilian control of its military. Some hold-overs from the communist era reportedly remain in senior positions in the Romanian military and the intelligence service. Slovenia has a small defense force, able to make only a minimal military contribution to NATO.
Some allied states contest such an evaluation, and have vowed to pursue invitations to Romania and Slovenia at Madrid.12 Officials of several allies may concede that civilian control of the military in Romania is insufficient, but aruge that it is at least the equal of Poland. Further, they believe that excluding Romania in particular, after significant strides forward in building a democracy, could be a political setback for reformers in a strategically key Balkan country.
If in fact candidate states are selected at the Madrid summit, negotiations for accession will begin almost immediately. U.S. and allied officials wish to complete the negotiations by December 1997.
The instrument(s) of accession will be in the form of a Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty. In the previous three expansions of the alliance, the Protocols noted candidate states' commitment to the principles of the Treaty; delineated the additional geographic territory to be covered under Article V (particularly specific in the case of Greece and Turkey in 1952); and, for Germany, noted issues touching upon the country's special legal position as a result of the aftermath of World War II.13 There will not be heavily detailed documents describing the military responsibilities that each new member must undertake because the alliance's defense needs are classified and cannot be shared with candidate states. Assignments to build air combat shelters or boost a particular intelligence capacity, for instance, are made only by NATO's Defense Planning Committee (the DPC). The DPC decides upon each member state's Defense Planning Program (DPP), which outlines force goals and other responsibilities to ensure that appropriate NATO's common defense are made. Such a program will be contributions to issued to the candidate states only after they become signatories to the Treaty.
A precise estimate of the financial costs of enlargement, consequently, cannot be discerned from the negotiations for accession. Because detailed defense commitments will not be part of the discussions, current member governments and their legislatures will be unable to evaluate the restructuring and modernization programs that allied officials later determine to be necessary for candidate states once they become members. Outside the negotiations, it is possible that PfP's Partnership and Review Process (PARP) can provide a general indication of NATO's expectations of new members because the PARP designates steps that countries should take to improve interoperability with NATO forces.
Administration officials are acutely aware of the developing debate over allied cost-sharing for enlargement. Some Members of Congress have questioned the accuracy of the Administration's estimates of the costs of enlargement, and believe that they are too low. Some Members of Congress are also insisting that the Administration devise a clear cost-sharing arrangement for enlargement with current allied states.14 Administration officials state privately that they will seek a more precise formulation of enlargement costs by December 1997, and that a cost-sharing arrangement will be discussed with the allies.
During the negotiations for accession, NATO officials will discuss several issues with candidate states. One issue will be the process of integration into NATO's command structure. NATO has been in the process of streamlining the command structure, and has adopted a general commitment to give European officers more commands. Another issue will be cost-sharing arrangements in NATO's three budgets: the strategic investment program (covering fixed installations, such as airfields, fuel pipelines, and telecommunications installations used in common by all members in the deployment and operation of forces), the civil budget (for paying NATO's international civilian staff), and the military budget (for paying the international military staff at NATO headquarters and the alliance's major commands). Each member state pays an agreed proportion of these budgets, the proportion being decided on the basis of gross domestic product and other economic factors. Upon completion of these discussions, the governments of candidate states will write to the NATO Secretary General to indicate that they will abide by the North Atlantic Treaty, and that they understand their commitments under the integrated command structure and the alliance's budgets.15
Another issue has been quietly raised with prospective candidates. Several current allied governments have told prospective candidates that, should they enter the alliance, they must not veto future candidate states. Such a commitment can only be informal, since the Treaty provides every state, once a member, with a veto over a prospective member. The discussions have centered upon countries that have experienced historical animosity towards their neighbors. For example, there have been longstanding disputes between Poland and Ukraine, and between Hungary and Romania over issues such as borders and ethnic minorities. (A series of bilateral treaties addressing most of these issues is now in place for the most likely prospective candidates.) The intention of these discussions is to warn a candidate state, upon becoming a member, against using its position to address bilateral issues in a manner detrimental to the alliance.16 All candidate states under serious consideration have publicly pledged not to veto future candidacies.
Member states have different concerns and perceptions about enlargement. Some governments of NATO members have expressed little enthusiasm for enlargement, but support it in principle because the Clinton Administration believes that expansion is important for European stability and critical for the vitality of the alliance. Some members support enlargement primarily for regional considerations, such as the desire of Italy and Greece to enhance stability in the Balkans. Several states have begun to place enlargement in a broad strategic context, addressing it, for example, through the prism of the prospective evolution of the European Union. The debate over enlargement, then, is as much about the long-term nature of the system meant to ensure European security as it is about the qualifications of candidate states.
In some member states, fragile government coalitions could be tested once the amended treaty is submitted to parliament. Other issues -- budget constraints imposed by EMU, the EU's role in security affairs, judgment of the U.S. commitment to preserve peace in Bosnia, national elections17 -- will affect the debate over NATO enlargement. In most allied countries, a vigorous debate has not yet begun on enlargement; polling information is therefore of doubtful value, but will be indicated, where appropriate.
There is an apparent consensus among member states to invite Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary at Madrid to begin accession negotiations. A number of members will seek to add Romania and Slovenia to the list. Other states mentioned as prospective candidates -- in particular, the Baltic states and Bulgaria -- are unlikely to receive support at the summit.
Article XI of the North Atlantic Treaty addresses the manner in which the original members joined the alliance. It does not directly apply to the admission of new members, except for the provision that member states should follow their "constitutional processes" for ratifying a treaty. [See Appendix.] For NATO's three previous expansions, protocols naming candidate states contained statements requiring that all existing members must ratify the amended treaty before a candidate state may gain entry into the alliance. In NATO's previous expansions, all member states have approved the new candidates.
The analysis of the positions of the 15 allies below is derived from interviews with officials from each country and from the United States, as well as discussions with other observers. Public sources have also been used.18
For some months, the Belgian government supported Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary for membership. In May 1997, some officials began to indicate that Belgium would support Slovenia's and Romania's candidacies as well. Belgian political figures, above all on the center and left, had initially expressed concern that a cooperative security framework be negotiated with Russia before enlargement proceeded; the "Founding Act" appears to have allayed those concerns.
There is broad support among the Belgian political elite for enlargement, and for keeping the door open to future rounds of enlargement. At the same time, some officials express concern about the costs of enlargement. In recent years, Belgium has made budgetary sacrifices to move towards qualification for EMU. Making progress in overcoming a large public debt has been a key policy objective of the government of Prime Minister Dehaene, who has pursued such a policy in the face of workers' unrest over a reduced safety net. These budgetary strictures will continue for several years, and few funds for NATO enlargement may be available. Belgium also has some concerns that additional NATO members may complicate the alliance's decisionmaking process.
The Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair supports a "smaller rather than a larger" expansion of the alliance. In concert with its Conservative Party predecessor, the Blair government has stated that NATO must not admit countries that dilute the alliance's political and military cohesion. Britain wishes to ensure that the alliance will continue to adapt to the post-Cold-War security situation in Europe through consensus. "We have to be confident," Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has said, "that those new members that come in are democracies and have the military capability to make a contribution as well as to demand a guarantee from NATO." He declined to name Britain's candidates for entry, but stated that the Baltic states would not be invited in a first round of invitations.19 Reportedly, however, Britain most strongly supports Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, and some officials have indicated that Slovenia's candidacy is also acceptable. The British government wishes to see the alliance remain open to future expansion.
In the debate about sharing the costs of enlargement, both Labour and Conservative Party officials believe that Britain's efforts to restructure and modernize its forces for power projection, as agreed under the Alliance's Strategic Concept of 1991, must be taken into consideration. Britain believes that it has already taken significant steps towards this end, and is likely to be cautious in agreeing to additional expenditures to assist new member states.
Canada supports the entry of five countries -- Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovenia. Enlargement is not a significant topic of debate in Canada, but the issue of cost-sharing for alliance expansion could provoke some controversy.
The Danish government has not made public its choices for enlargement. Reportedly, however, Denmark supports Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Most strongly among the allies, Danish officials support the Baltic states' admission to the alliance, and are likely to express support for the candidacies of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia at Madrid. Denmark has played a leading role in developing alliance defense cooperation with the Baltic states. Defense Minister Hans Haekkerup has said that he will ask NATO at the summit to commit itself to inviting the Baltic states to join in a second round of enlargment if those states are not admitted in a first round.20
Among NATO members, Denmark has traditionally had one of the smaller defense budgets, when figured as a percentage of GDP. There is little political support for expenditures for NATO enlargement. Denmark has been a strong supporter of international peacekeeping efforts, and it is one of the principal supporters of a NATO with more "political" missions, such as peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance.
On February 6, 1997, the Danish parliament passed a resolution that endorsed NATO enlargement as a means to enhance stability in Europe; supported greater cooperation between NATO and Russia; urged that the Baltic states one day be considered for NATO membership; called for an enhanced PfP program to strengthen the alliance's links with candidate states not gaining entry; and endorsed adjustment of equipment levels covered by the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty that reflect a reduced threat from Russia.21
Elections on June 1, 1997, ousted the center-right coalition of Alain Juppé and brought to power a Socialist-led coalition under Lionel Jospin. Gaullist President Jacques Chirac remains head of state. For at least several years, France will again be in a period of cohabitation, in which the left and the right share power. Prime Minister Jospin assumed office in a highly contentious political atmosphere where domestic issues such as unemployment (now at 12.8%) and slow economic growth (approximately 2%) are dominant.
President Chirac and Prime Minister Jospin have differed in their views on NATO enlargement. After initially wishing to delay enlargement, President Chirac firmly endorsed alliance expansion in the fall of 1996. He has championed Romania's candidacy, and endorsed Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovenia as well.22 President Chirac has advocated a long-term goal of returning France to NATO's integrated command structure, once the alliance agrees on more Europeans in important commands and once it shapes more clearly the mechanisms to carry out its new missions.23
Traditionally, the President of France takes the lead in foreign and defense policy, but Prime Minister Jospin has said that the President may not claim a "domaine réservé."24 Chirac, in any event, is much weakened politically by the loss of majority support in the National Assembly. Jospin has endorsed NATO enlargement in principle, but wishes to proceed slowly. He has specifically supported Romania's candidacy. At the same time, Jospin and the Socialists have criticized enlargement as a U.S. policy intended to enhance American influence in Europe. Jospin sees a "tendency to hegemony" in U.S. security policy in Europe, and he opposes for now French reintegration into NATO's command structure.25 Several members of his cabinet are also critical of enlargement. Interior Minister ChPvenement, leader of a left-wing splinter party, has long been a critic of U.S. leadership of NATO and an opponent of enlargement. There are two communist ministers in the Jospin government. Communist leader Robert Hue has called for the dissolution of NATO.
NATO is important to France as long as a revitalized, aggressive Russia is a possibility, but the European Union is of greater long-term importance. In economic and political affairs, President Chirac has said that he wishes to see the EU assume a strong global position, becoming "an active and powerful center, the equal of the United States," in the twenty-first century.26 Further economic and political union are essential to this end. Prime Minister Jospin's views have been similar. France and Europe "must first define the way to a European security, which could then lead to an evolutionary approach [by the EU] to NATO."27 This position received a setback when, in June 1997, the European Union could not agree to integrate the Western European Union (WEU) into the EU.
Resources currently constrain France's ability to undertake large-scale, independent military missions. Budget strictures and defense cutbacks have been influential in leading President Chirac onto a path on which France must rely more heavily on NATO for lift and for intelligence resources.28 In concert with this development, at NATO's Berlin Ministerial in June 1996, the European allies agreed that the European security and defense identity should develop within NATO. This process is beginning to take shape institutionally, but the tools and the political will among the European allies to carry out mlitary operations on the ground are largely lacking.
Many of the French policy élite believe that U.S. officials have sought to establish a "competition" between NATO and the European Union. The French (joined by officials from some other EU member states) have sharp criticism for U.S. officials who denigrate EU efforts at resolving security problems on the continent or the EU's recent record of economic growth.29 They view such an attitude as an effort to assure U.S. power and influence on the continent at the expense of the European Union.
French concerns about NATO enlargement and the more general direction of European security policy are also fuelled by the widely held view that one day U.S. forces will leave Europe. In this view, Europeans will be left holding the reins of a security apparatus that will not have been of their own design.
The French government's specific candidates for NATO membership have emerged in the context of their thinking over the proper roles of NATO and the European Union. France has endorsed EU enlargement, but wishes to proceed slowly, after the year 2000. France believes that a NATO and an EU enlargement to include Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary alone place too much weight in the German economic and political sphere. This concern is somewhat attenuated as long as Chancellor Kohl, a strong proponent of close French-German cooperation, remains in power. In addition, these three states -- the Czech Republic in particular -- are pursuing an economic model closer to that of the free-market approach of Britain (and the United States) than the statist approach of France; an EU enlargement to include these three countries alone would tilt away from France's desired course for the EU's future social and economic policy. A NATO enlargement to include these three states alone, which desire above all the U.S. security guarantee and closer relations with the United States, could prove a double blow to France's long-term interests. In contrast, France views Romania as a more "Latin" country, with a more familiar culture and perspective. Strategically, France believes that Romania provides a potentially stable security anchor in the Balkans and towards the east, the areas from which Paris believes the greatest security threats to Europe may come. France also supports Slovenia's entry, as noted earlier, but some officials express reservations about Ljubljana's record in regional disarmament negotiations and its potential strategic importance to the alliance.
France's ultimate stance on NATO enlargement remains unclear. The Founding Act was proposed by France and signed in Paris; it would be an embarrassment to France if the government slowed enlargement at Madrid. The Jospin government has given every indication that it will concentrate on domestic issues, and may be willing to allow President Chirac to take the lead on the portfolio for enlargement, at least initially. Enlargement must be approved by a majority vote in the National Assembly. Key elements of the coalition that oppose or wish to proceed slowly on enlargement may be less likely to make alliance expansion a point of contention if Prime Minister Jospin demonstrates successful leadership on domestic issues critical to their constituencies. Support for enlargement among the French people has fallen in the last year from 56% to 39%, but public discussion has been minimal.30
Competing issues will likely affect France's ultimate position on sharing the costs of enlargement. France's efforts to qualify, and remain in line with, EMU criteria, and to deliver promised jobs are more likely to prevail as budgetary priorities. In addition, the Juppé government began a major military restructuring program (largely endorsed by Prime Minister Jospin) in keeping with NATO's Strategic Concept, a policy that may allow Paris to contend that it has already borne a significant burden in taking steps to fulfill its commitments to a NATO geared to new missions. Some French officials believe that the Clinton Administration is attempting to put an unfair proportion of the costs of enlargement on European shoulders.
German Defense Minister Volker Rühe was an early advocate of NATO enlargement in 1993. Chancellor Kohl's support has been more guarded, largely due to the importance of maintaining Germany's good relations with Russia. Because Russia has viewed enlargement as a threat, the German government has been restrained in its public endorsements of NATO expansion. The signing of the Founding Act has somewhat relaxed this constraint.
Germany advocates the entry of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. The Federal Republic wishes to move the line of stability further east in Europe; NATO enlargement, and eventually EU expansion, would serve this purpose. French President Chirac has reportedly attempted to persuade Germany that Bonn should also back Romania's and Slovenia's candidacies. In mid-June 1997, Chancellor Kohl expressed his "sympathy" for Romania's desire to enter the alliance, but stopped short of an endorsement. On June 17, 1997, Defense Minister Rhhe stated explicitly that Germany would support only three countries at Madrid, but that the door must remain open in the future for Romania and Slovenia.31 In the past, he has also been a strong advocate of the Baltic states' eventual entry.
A consensus in the Bundestag supports enlargement. The major parties back enlargement, as do some members of the Green party. The issue has not yet been widely debated in Germany. A spring 1997 poll indicated that by a margin of 38% to 37%, the German people believe that enlargement will strengthen European security, a decline in support from the previous year.32
There is sharp opposition in the German political elite to sharing the costs of enlargement. The German government has not done a study of the costs of enlargement, and there does not appear to be a consensus over existing U.S. estimates. Bonn believes that the German people have borne heavy burdens in strengthening stability in Europe. Unification of Germany has been and continues to be costly, and Bonn has provided substantial financial assistance to the developing democracies in central Europe and to Russia. In addition, Bonn has shouldered heavy costs, reaching over $3 billion in 1996, for caring for over 300,000 refugees from the war in the former Yugoslavia living in Germany. Germany is working to cut overall budgetary expenditures at considerable political cost to the Kohl coalition in order to qualify for EMU, of which it is a key proponent. Taxation is very high in Germany by U.S. and by most European standards. Jürgen Koppelin, a Free Democratic Party defense expert on the Bundestag's Budget Committee, has said that there is no money in the budget for modernizing central European militaries.33
Instability in the Balkans has been a traditional concern of Greece. The conflict in Bosnia and virtual anarchy in Albania feed this concern, and are important components of the debate in Athens over European security. In keeping with the views of some other allies, Athens believes that future threats will come more from "the south" than the east. For Greece, "the south" means the Muslim world, the Caucasus, and its own region, the Balkans. Greek officials express concern about terrorism, the spread of Muslim fundamentalism, and immigration from unstable areas and attendant social and economic dislocation. Athens has expressed concern that NATO maintain a cooperative relationship with Russia, and views the Founding Act as a step along this path.
While Athens supports the candidacies for NATO membership of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, it also has pressed the case for Romania and Bulgaria. Greece supports Slovenia's candidacy as well. Greek officials acknowledge that Bulgaria will not enter NATO in a first round of enlargement, but they wish to keep the door open for its later candidacy. Socialist Prime Minister Simitis has expressed concern that both NATO and EU enlargement will not include the Balkans. The Balkan countries, in his view, must be treated like central European countries, "without differentiation and arrangements" that would exclude them from key European institutions.34
Iceland's government supports the inclusion of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary in NATO. Iceland also supports the future inclusion of the Baltic states in the alliance. Iceland remains concerned that Russia could one day again become a threat. For this reason, it emphasizes the preservation of NATO's core mission of collective defense, but also endorses such "new missions" as peacekeeping. Foreign Minister Haldór Ásgrímsson has said that Iceland does not wish to see enlargement dilute the political solidarity and military effectiveness of the alliance; therefore, only countries that have resolved disputes with their neighbors should be eligible for membership. At the same time, "free independent countries have the right to choose their own security arrangements," and NATO must therefore be open to future candidates, including the Baltic states.35
Italy is confronting a full agenda of controversial domestic and foreign policy issues. In the early 1990s, corruption scandals destroyed the political edifice composed of traditional parties that had governed the country since the end of the Second World War. Since 1993, a series of elections and referenda have put Italy on a fitful course towards reform. Today, the center-left government of Prime Minister Prodi has developed policies to confront directly such difficult issues as constitutional reform, budget reduction, pension reform, and privatization of a large state sector of industries to restructure the economy and meet EMU convergence criteria.36 Simultaneously, Italy is leading the Multinational Protection Forces (MPF) in neighboring Albania. Prime Minister Prodi is grappling with these issues while performing a political balancing act to preserve the support of Communist Refoundation (RC), a far-left party not in the government but whose votes are key to the government's initiatives.
Italy's long-term objective in European security has been preservation of a U.S. presence on the continent, seen as a key in the past to establishment of not only NATO but institutions such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), all of which have enhanced stability.37 Washington's design, therefore, of a NATO with new missions and expanded membership has been supported by Rome, but many Italian political figures have privately sought a slower, more evolutionary course to these objectives, especially given Italy's competing domestic problems.
Italy is at odds with the Clinton Administration over the candidacies of Slovenia and Romania. While the Prodi government supports the admission of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, it has joined with several other allies in emphasizing the importance of a NATO that looks as much south as east.38 Surges of refugees from the unstable Balkans, the fragility of the Middle East peace process, and disorder in North Africa and the Horn of Africa -- areas of traditional Italian interest -- have led Rome to make the case for a "larger rather than smaller" enlargement. Italy believes that an enlarged NATO without Slovenia and Romania would neglect strategic concerns in southeastern Europe, where the principal threats to stability now arise, as demonstrated by political conditions in Bosnia and Albania. Should NATO not invite Slovenia and Romania to join the alliance at Madrid, then Rome will seek a clear commitment at the summit to a subsequent, early invitation to those two countries.
Prime Minister Prodi's efforts to consolidate his electoral base and his coalition's support within parliament are important ingredients in judging Rome's ultimate stance on enlargement. Municipal elections in May 1997 somewhat enhanced the standing of his coalition parties, but they also strengthened the hand of Communist Refoundation.39 RC's support on several central elements of the government's economic policies remains uncertain but important to the government's survival, and the party is strongly opposed to enlargement. In the parliamentary vote to send Italian forces to Albania, RC withheld its support of the government, necessitating a successful appeal by the coalition for the opposition center-right's support. Italian officials believe that a similar hurdle and solution may be necessary on enlargement; opposition parties support enlargement. Failure to win a vote on such a critical issue would bring down the government. For these reasons, Prime Minister Prodi may await a vote in the U.S. Senate on enlargement before submitting the issue to the Italian parliament; hesitation by the U.S. Senate would lead to a delay in the Italian parliament addressing the issue.
The government of Luxembourg supports the candidacies of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, and Romania. Government officials believe that enlargement will pass through parliament without difficulty.
There is a division on the issue of enlargement in the Netherlands' coalition government of Labor Prime Minister Wim Kok. The Labor Party supports enlargement. Its coalition partners are a centrist party and the conservative VVD, or Liberal Party. In February 1997, the VVD leader, Frits Bolkestein, proposed in the Binnenhof (the lower, or second, chamber of parliament) a resolution stating that enlargement, by antagonizing Russia, would hinder stability in Europe and divide the continent. The resolution failed.
The debate over enlargement will occur in a politicized atmosphere because elections will be held in spring 1998. Prime Minister Kok, who has engineered a successful economic program, is a popular figure, but Bolkestein is also highly popular. Bolkestein's VVD, even if it were to become the party with the most seats after the election, would likely need coalition partners to govern. One or two other party combinations are also possible for building a coalition. Most observers believe that the Netherlands will ultimately support enlargement because all major parties except the VVD support it. The Netherlands' extensive review process for approving a treaty, however, could mean that an extended period of time will elapse before final ratification. [See Appendix.]
Dutch government supporters of enlargement desire an expansion of the alliance that does not weaken collective defense. New NATO members must be able to contribute meaningfully to their own defense, and firmly on the path to democracy, in the Dutch view. By June 1997, The Hague had reportedly decided to support Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovenia. The Dutch believe that Romania has settled important territorial and minority issues with Hungary. In The Hague's view, to admit Hungary alone would be a setback for those in Romania who have worked to resolve controversial bilateral issues with Hungary. At the same time, some Dutch officials acknowledge that Romania has not yet established effective civilian control of the military. The Baltic states, in the Dutch view, cannot be readily defended; an enhanced PfP regime is thus appropriate for the Baltics, and there can be no firm timetable for their entry into NATO until the alliance's relations with Russia improve significantly.
As in many allied governments, officials of the Netherlands are divided over the issue of enlargement costs. Many officials emphasize the importance of NATO being able to act under Article V; for them, costs will be a key factor in the enlargement debate because they desire adequate funding for collective defense. Other officials believe that, due to the current absence of a threat, enlargement costs should be modest. The Netherlands' constitutional process is expected to produce an evaluation of the costs of enlargement. The Netherlands is also one of the alliance's strongest supporters of a greater political role for NATO in such matters as encouraging democracy and protecting human rights. In the Dutch view, enlargement should go forward, but with a constant eye on its effects on the alliance's strategic and political functions.
After initial hesitation in supporting enlargement, the Norwegian government now supports an expansion to include Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Above all, Norway seeks to ensure preservation of the alliance's "core functions" -- meaning that there must be no dilution of NATO's ability to carry out responsibilities under Article V. Norway's geographic remoteness, small population, and modest defense forces, along with its position outside the EU, may enhance its sense of isolation. Under such circumstances, the Norwegians are acutely sensitive to any changes in defense posture that might adversely affect their heavy reliance on NATO for security. The Norwegian government believes that neither Romania nor Slovenia can yet make a meaningful contribution to collective defense. Defense Minister Jrrgen Kosmo has said that candidate states "must have established democratic political control over their military resources, and Romania has not done this.... The Baltic republics...are not able to take part in the core functions of the alliance."40 Support for enlargement in the Norwegian parliament is strong.
Portugal does not have strong, direct interests in central Europe, but is supportive of the alliance consensus to expand. It is in the group of southern NATO countries (France, Spain, Italy, and Greece) that seeks an enlargement with the potential to strengthen the alliance's ability to address problems emanating from "the south." For this reason, Portugal supports the entry of Romania and Slovenia as well as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
The degree to which Portugal is expected to share the costs of expansion will be an issue in Lisbon. The minority Socialist government of Prime Minister António Guterres has persuaded unions, part of his natural constituency, to restrain wage demands, in keeping with government efforts to contain inflation and encourage growth. Prime Minister Guterres has made qualification for EMU a central part of his government's program. Accepting costs, such as NATO expansion, that affect this goal may prove difficult, given the importance of the domestic social and economic agenda.
The minority center-right Popular Party government of José María Aznar supports an enlargement that would include Romania and Slovenia, as well as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. In discussing enlargement, Spanish officials often cite their own country's positive experience in joining NATO and the EU: entry into the key European institutions encouraged Spain on its path to strong democracy. These officials do not wish to deny such an opportunity to qualified candidate states. Spain is concerned about nuclear proliferation and terrorism, as well as instability in "the south" that could cause a flow of immigrants or refugees. Spain, like its neighbors, therefore wishes to see the alliance put greater emphasis on Mediterranean security.
The Spanish government is attempting to qualify for EMU. Its economy has grown slowly over the past several years, and unemployment is high. The government is in the midst of restructuring the economy. In such circumstances, a debate over sharing the costs of enlargement could be a difficult one for Prime Minister Aznar.
Some observers believe that it is possible that Turkey could ultimately block NATO enlargement as a means to force the EU to open its door to Ankara. Others, however, believe that Ankara is unlikely to block a policy goal of the United States, its most important ally. Turkey is in the midst of political turmoil that may endure over the next year. Turkish military leaders strongly favor the continuation of a secular state and drawing closer to the European Union. They pressured Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan of the Welfare Party to resign on June 18, 1997, because he had taken steps to steer Turkey away from secularism. Erbakan was ruling in a coalition government with Tansu Çiller, leader of the secular True Path Party, who was expected to succeed him. The Turkish President, with constitutional authority to name a successor, instead chose Mesut Yilmaz, leader of a secular party, to form a coalition due to scandals that dog Çiller. In this unsettled atmosphere, the debate over enlargement could prove to be a difficult one.
The Turkish military is highly conservative, and supports NATO enlargement in part to strengthen western security against the possible revival of an aggressive Russia. The military has expressed chagrin that Turkey is being called upon to admit former Warsaw Pact states to NATO when it seems likely that such states may join the EU before Turkey. Should these states then be involved in an Article V crisis, Turkey would be called upon to defend countries viewed as its equal in security matters, but with which Turkey would not enjoy equal status as a trading and political partner due to Ankara's exclusion from the European Union. Former Defense Minister Tayan has said that EU and NATO expansion should not be considered separately, a theme voiced officially by many EU governments, but with Turkey quietly excluded from the equation. In Tayan's view, "in the aftermath of the Cold War,... it is only natural that the political, military, and economic restructuring of the EU and NATO should be conducted in parallel and in harmony with each other."41 Some Turkish officials have threatened to block NATO enlargement unless the EU promises to consider Turkish membership seriously. This sentiment reportedly has a measure of support in all of the parties in parliament.
Turkish political leaders support enlargement in principle. Ministers in the Erbakan government publicly endorsed Romania, Slovenia, and Bulgaria, and indicated that Turkey would not impede efforts to name candidate states at the Madrid summit. Turkey believes that the conflict in the former Yugoslavia is strong evidence that, if stability is an objective, then enlargement must not exclude Balkan states from the alliance.42 However, some observers believe that the debate on enlargement in the parliament in 1998 could become enmeshed in the effort by Turkey to gain entry into the European Union.
There is considerable public and governmental opposition in Europe to Turkey's possible candidacy for the European Union. Such opposition is a sensitive subject in Turkey because it is viewed as a critique of Turkish culture, which Turks believe Europeans find wanting. Most EU publics and governments perceive sharp cultural differences with Turkey, which is Muslim, poor, and, in Europe's view, facing the Middle East more than Europe. Germany, supported by several other governments, believes that Turkey does not qualify for EU membership due to the strong hand of its military in political affairs and to human rights violations, particularly against the Kurdish population. For their part, Turkish leaders have worked to build a secular state that has a strong European component, while not denying cultural, political, and economic ties to the east and south. The Clinton Administration supports Turkey's effort to become a candidate for EU membership. The Clinton Administration believes that European security can be enhanced by a strengthened and broadened European Union that encourages democracy and human rights, and that continental stability will be enhanced if Turkey is admitted.