- Formed in 1949 with the signing of the Washington Treaty, NATO is a security alliance of 30 countries from North America and Europe.
- Established in the Cold War as a bulwark against Soviet aggression, NATO’s fundamental goal is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means.
- Article 5 of the Washington Treaty states that an attack against one Ally is an attack against all — is at the core of the Alliance, a promise of collective defence.
- A “NATO decision” is the expression of the collective will of all 30 member countries since all decisions are taken by consensus.
- At present, NATO has 30 members. In 1949, there were 12 founding members of the Alliance: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. The other member countries are: Greece and Turkey (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Albania and Croatia (2009), Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020).
- NATO’s Headquarters are located in Brussels, Belgium.
Why in News?
- Turkey said that it was waiting for a written response from Sweden and Finland to Ankara’s objections to their NATO bids.
- The two Nordic countries reversed decades of military non-alignment by applying for NATO memberships in May, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Any NATO membership deal must, however, be unanimously approved by all 30 members of the alliance.