Member states of NATO
NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is an international alliance that consists of 29 member states from North America and Europe. It was established at the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. Article Five of the treaty states that if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it shall be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary.
Of the 29 member countries, two are located in North America (Canada and the United States), 26 are in Europe, and one is in Europe and Asia (Turkey). All members have militaries, except for Iceland which does not have a typical army (but does, however, have a coast guard and a small unit of civilian specialists for NATO operations). Three of NATO's members are nuclear weapons states: France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. NATO has 12 original founding member nation states, and from 18 February 1952 to 6 May 1955, it added three more member nations, and a fourth on 30 May 1982. After the end of the Cold War, NATO added 13 more member nations (10 former Warsaw Pact members and three former Yugoslav republics) from 12 March 1999 to 5 June 2017.
Founding and changes in membership
NATO has added new members seven times since its founding in 1949, and since 2017 NATO has had 29 members. Twelve countries took part in the founding of NATO: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1952, Greece and Turkey became members of the Alliance, joined later by West Germany (in 1955) and Spain (in 1982). In 1990, with the reunification of Germany, NATO grew to include the former country of East Germany. Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbors were set up, including the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In 1997, three former Warsaw Pact countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO. After this fourth enlargement in 1999, the Vilnius group of the Baltics and seven East European countries formed in May 2000 to cooperate and lobby for further NATO membership. Seven of these countries joined in the fifth enlargement in 2004. The Adriatic States Albania and Croatia joined in the sixth enlargement in 2009, Montenegro in 2017.
North Macedonia is expected to enter the alliance as the 30th member in the first quarter of 2020. As of February 2020 Spain has still yet to ratify the accession protocol.
United States President Donald Trump expressed interest in withdrawing from the organization during his 2016 presidential campaign, but he later stated that the United States would protect allies in the event that Article V is invoked.
|*||= Member of the EU|
|Flag||Map||English common and formal names
|Domestic common and formal names
|Date of accession||Population
Republic of Albania
|Albanian: Shqipëri / Shqipëria — Republika e Shqipërisë||Tirana
|2009-04-01||2,887,000||28,748 km2 (11,100 sq mi)||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1968.|
Kingdom of Belgium
|Dutch: België — Koninkrijk België
French: Belgique — Royaume de Belgique
German: Belgien — Königreich Belgien
|1949-08-24 (Founding member)||11,502,204||30,528 km2 (11,787 sq mi)|
Republic of Bulgaria
|Bulgarian: България — Република България (Bǎlgarija — Republika Bǎlgarija)||Sofia
Bulgarian: София (Sofia)
|2004-03-29||7,050,034||110,879 km2 (42,811 sq mi)||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991.|
|Ottawa||1949-08-24 (Founding member)||37,242,571||9,984,670 km2 (3,855,103 sq mi)|
Republic of Croatia
|Croatian: Hrvatska — Republika Hrvatska||Zagreb
|2009-04-01||4,105,493||56,594 km2 (21,851 sq mi)||Previously part of Yugoslavia 1945–1991 (Non-aligned).|
|Czech: Česko — Česká republika||Prague
|1999-03-12||10,625,449||78,867 km2 (30,451 sq mi)||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 as part of Czechoslovakia.|
Kingdom of Denmark
|Danish: Danmark — Kongeriget Danmark||Copenhagen
|1949-08-24 (Founding member)||5,806,015||2,210,000 km2 (853,286 sq mi)||Denmark's NATO membership includes the Faroe Islands and Greenland.|
Republic of Estonia
|Estonian: Eesti — Eesti Vabariik||Tallinn
|2004-03-29||1,315,000||45,228 km2 (17,463 sq mi)||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 as part of the Soviet Union.|
|French: France — République française||Paris
|1949-08-24 (Founding member)||67,348,000||643,427 km2 (248,429 sq mi)||Membership extended as the Fourth French Republic (including French Algeria until 1962). France withdrew from the integrated military command in 1966 to pursue an independent defense system but returned to full participation in 2009.|
Federal Republic of Germany
|German: Deutschland — Bundesrepublik Deutschland||Berlin
|1955-05-8||82,800,000||357,022 km2 (137,847 sq mi)||Commonly known as West Germany when it joined; it later reunited with Saarland in 1957 and with the Berlin territories and East Germany on 3 October 1990. East Germany was a member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1956–1990.|
|Greek: Ελλάς — Ελληνική Δημοκρατία (Ellás — Ellinikí Dimokratía)||Athens
Greek: Αθήνα (Athína)
|1952-02-18||10,816,286||131,957 km2 (50,949 sq mi)||Membership extended as the Kingdom of Greece. Greece withdrew its forces from NATO's military command structure from 1974 to 1980 as a result of Greco-Turkish tensions following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.|
|1999-03-12||9,771,000||93,028 km2 (35,918 sq mi)||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991.|
Republic of Iceland
|Icelandic: Ísland — Lýðveldið Ísland||Reykjavík
|1949-08-24 (Founding member)||350,710||103,000 km2 (39,769 sq mi)||Iceland, the sole member that does not have its own standing army, joined on the condition that it would not be expected to establish one. However, its strategic geographic position in the Atlantic made it an invaluable member. It has a Coast Guard and has contributed a voluntary peacekeeping force, trained in Norway for NATO.|
|Italian: Italia — Repubblica Italiana||Rome
|1949-08-24 (Founding member)||60,494,118||301,340 km2 (116,348 sq mi)|
Republic of Latvia
|Latvian: Latvija — Latvijas Republika||Riga
|2004-03-29||1,934,379||64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi)||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 as part of the Soviet Union.|
Republic of Lithuania
|Lithuanian: Lietuva — Lietuvos Respublika||Vilnius
|2004-03-29||2,797,000||65,300 km2 (25,212 sq mi)||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 as part of the Soviet Union.|
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
|Luxembourgish: Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg
French: Luxembourg — Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
German: Luxemburg — Großherzogtum Luxemburg
|1949-08-24 (Founding member)||602,000||2,586 km2 (998 sq mi)|
|Montenegro[i]||Montenegrin: Црна Гора, Crna Gora||Podgorica
Montenegrin: Подгорица, Podgorica
|2017-06-05||642,550||13,812 km2 (5,333 sq mi)||Previously part of Yugoslavia 1945–1991 (Non-aligned).|
Kingdom of the Netherlands
|Dutch: Nederland — Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
West Frisian: Nederlân — Keninkryk fan de Nederlannen
Papiamento: Hulandu — Reino di Hulanda
The Hague (seat of government)
West Frisian: Amsterdam
Dutch: 's-Gravenhage / Den Haag
West Frisian: De Haach
Papiamento: Den Haag
|1949-08-24 (Founding member)||17,272,990||41,543 km2 (16,040 sq mi)|
Kingdom of Norway
|Bokmål: Norge — Kongeriket Norge
Nynorsk: Noreg — Kongeriket Noreg
Northern Sami: Norga — Norgga gonagasriika
|1949-08-24 (Founding member)||5,323,933||323,802 km2 (125,021 sq mi)|
Republic of Poland
|Polish: Polska — Rzeczpospolita Polska||Warsaw
|1999-03-12||38,433,600||312,685 km2 (120,728 sq mi)||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991.|
|Portuguese: Portugal — República Portuguesa||Lisbon
|1949-08-24 (Founding member)||10,291,196||92,090 km2 (35,556 sq mi)|
|2004-03-29||19,622,000||238,391 km2 (92,043 sq mi)||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991.|
|Slovak: Slovensko — Slovenská republika||Bratislava
|2004-03-29||5,445,087||49,035 km2 (18,933 sq mi)||Member of the rival Warsaw Pact 1955–1991 as part of Czechoslovakia.|
Republic of Slovenia
|Slovene: Slovenija — Republika Slovenija||Ljubljana
|2004-03-29||2,070,050||20,273 km2 (7,827 sq mi)||Previously part of Yugoslavia 1945–1991 (Non-aligned).|
Kingdom of Spain
|Spanish: España — Reino de España||Madrid
|1982-05-30||47,720,291||505,370 km2 (195,124 sq mi)|
Republic of Turkey
|Turkish: Türkiye — Türkiye Cumhuriyeti||Ankara
|1952-02-18||80,810,525||783,562 km2 (302,535 sq mi)|
|United Kingdom [h]
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
|English: United Kingdom — United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Welsh: Deyrnas Unedig — Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon
|London||1949-08-24 (Founding member)||66,040,229||243,610 km2 (94,058 sq mi)|
United States of America
|English: United States of America||Washington, D.C.||1949-08-24 (Founding member)||327,167,434||9,833,520 km2 (3,796,743 sq mi)|
The following list is sourced from the 2018 edition of "The Military Balance" published annually by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
|Country||Active military||Reserve military||Paramilitary||Total||Per 1000 capita
|Per 1000 capita|
The United States has a larger defense expenditure than all other members combined. Criticism of the organization by current US President Donald Trump caused various reactions from American and European political figures, ranging from ridicule to panic. Pew Research Center's 2016 survey among its member states showed that while most countries viewed NATO positively, most NATO members preferred keeping their military spending the same. The response to whether their country should militarily aid another NATO country if it were to get into a serious military conflict with Russia was also mixed. Only in the US and Canada did more than 50% of the people answer that they should.
(2018, US$ millions)
(2019, US$ millions)
(2019, % of GDP)
(2018, US$ per capita)
Population data from CIA World Factbook
GDP data from IMF
Expenditure data (except Iceland) from SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, Icelandic data (2013) from Statistics Iceland
Military personnel data from NATO
a Iceland has no armed forces.
b 2015 data.
- Area and population numbers include integral areas located outside of Europe. The area and population of states with separatist regions includes that of the separatist regions.
- The island of Cyprus is located on the Cyprian arc on the edge of the Anatolian Plate and is physiographically associated with Asia, but it is part of European organisations such as the EU.
- Turkey has territory in both Europe (dark green) and Asia (light green).
- Denmark and the Netherlands are constituent countries of the Kingdom of Denmark and the Kingdom of the Netherlands respectively. Both are members of the EU; however, the other constituent countries of their kingdoms are not. In international organisations, the terms Denmark and the Netherlands are often used as short names for their respective kingdoms as a whole.
- The Netherlands is also known as "Holland", but this name properly refers only to a region of the country. See Netherlands (terminology).
- The United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) consists of the constituent countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The UK is responsible for the foreign relations and ultimate good governance of the Crown dependencies of Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey, which are otherwise separate. England, Scotland and Wales make up the island of Great Britain (or simply Britain), which is sometimes used synonymously with the United Kingdom.
- EU candidate country.
- A simpler official short name has been encouraged by the Czech government. By 2017, this variant remains uncommon. Nevertheless, this term has been adopted by several companies and organisations, including Google Maps, instead of the term "Czech Republic". See Name of the Czech Republic.
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- "Trump threatens to quit NATO: White House official - France 24". France 24. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Landler, Michael D. Shear, Mark; Kanter, James (25 May 2017). "In NATO Speech, Trump Is Vague About Mutual Defense Pledge". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Lauter, David (26 May 2017). "A glowing orb and a not-so-glowing review of the GOP healthcare bill: Trump's week was filled with events he didn't control". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
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- "Netherlands". Cia.gov. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- "Turkey's population hits 79.81 million people, increasing over one million". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- IISS 2018, pp. 82
- IISS 2018, pp. 85
- IISS 2018, pp. 88
- IISS 2018, pp. 43
- IISS 2018, pp. 90
- IISS 2018, pp. 94
- IISS 2018, pp. 96
- IISS 2018, pp. 98
- IISS 2018, pp. 102
- IISS 2018, pp. 107-108
- IISS 2018, pp. 111
- IISS 2018, pp. 114
- IISS 2018, p. 116
- IISS 2018, pp. 118
- IISS 2018, pp. 122
- IISS 2018, pp. 124
- IISS 2018, p. 125-126
- IISS 2018, pp. 128
- IISS 2018, pp. 130
- IISS 2018, pp. 132-133
- IISS 2018, pp. 135
- IISS 2018, pp. 138
- IISS 2018, pp. 140
- IISS 2018, pp. 145
- IISS 2018, pp. 147
- IISS 2018, pp. 148
- IISS 2018, pp. 156-157
- IISS 2018, pp. 160-161
- IISS 2018, pp. 46
- Where Does The Relationship Between NATO And The U.S. Go From Here?, Huffington Post
- NATO allies boost defense spending in the wake of Trump criticism, The Washington Post
- Former US ambassador to Nato in withering criticism of Donald Trump, The Independent
- Shaken by Trump’s Criticism of NATO, Europe Mulls Building Own Military Force, Voice Of America
- Support for NATO is widespread among member nations, Pew Research
- U.S. would defend NATO despite Trump's criticism, Europeans believe: study, Reuters
- The Secretary General's Annual Report 2019. NATO. Published in 2018. See pages 108 - 112.
- "World Economic Outlook Database April 2016". International Monetary Fund. International Monetary Fund. April 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
- "SIPRI Military Expenditure Database 2015" (XLS). Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
- "Central government total expenditure by function 1998-2013". Statistics Iceland. Statistics Iceland. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
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