T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E


Text Only Help Site Map


"We want all of Europe to have what America helped build in Western Europe - a community that upholds common standards of human rights, where people have the confidence and security to invest in the future, where nations cooperate to make war unthinkable. That is why I have pushed hard for NATO's enlargement and why we must keep NATO's doors open to new democratic members, so that other nations will have an incentive to deepen their democracies."

President Clinton
San Francisco, California
February 26, 1999

Early in his first term, President Clinton outlined a vision of a Europe peaceful, undivided and democratic for the first time in history. Safeguarding Europe's freedom by inviting emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe to join NATO has been central to his vision, and his success in enlarging the Trans-Atlantic alliance to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in March 1999 marked a historic step towards realizing it. President Clinton has also made clear this would not be NATO's last round of enlargement, reaffirming during the Washington Summit in April 1999 that the door remains open for new members. President Clinton has also spearheaded efforts to ensure that NATO meets the new security challenges of the next century, forging agreement on a new Strategic Concept. He also reaffirmed that NATO will honor the fundamentals on which the Alliance was founded, most notably in Kosovo, where NATO launched an air campaign that reversed ethnic cleansing and ended a decade of repression. Just as NATO proved the basis for Western Europe's stability and integration after World War II, a growing, evolving NATO is proving a basis for stability and integration for all of Europe in the post-Cold War world.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is also contributing to building a peaceful, undivided and democratic Europe. At the November 1999 Istanbul Summit President Clinton and the leaders of other states participating in the OSCE, including Russia, signed a new Charter for European Security that recognizes European security in the 21st century increasingly depends on building security within societies as well as security between states.



The Clinton Administration has led efforts to adapt NATO to meet new security challenges. Responding to President Clinton's call to embrace the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe, NATO heads of government at the 1994 Brussels Summit committed to launch a process of enlargement that "would reach to democratic states to our East, as part of an evolutionary process, taking into account political and security developments in the whole of Europe.

  • Invited the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to begin accession talks with NATO, at the Madrid Summit in July 1997, at the end of the intensive, individualized dialogue with allied Heads of State and Government. The U.S. Senate ratified the Treaty on NATO Accession for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland on April 30, 1998, by a vote of 80-19. The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined the Alliance in March 1999.
  • Launched the Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Washington Summit in April 1999. The MAP process began with intensive consultations at NATO in Fall 1999. At May and December 2000 meetings, NATO Foreign Ministers welcomed progress made by the nine participating countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia), in implementing the MAP.
  • Designated Prague (in December 2000) as the site of the next NATO summit, which will review the enlargement process and take place no later than 2002.
  • Committed (at the 1999 Washington Summit) to building a more capable, flexible Alliance able to undertake new missions. In particular, Allies launched an initiative to improve NATO's defense capabilities, with a special emphasis on interoperability, to ensure the effectiveness of future multinational operations across the full spectrum of Alliance missions. Allies committed themselves to increase Alliance efforts against weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, and reaffirmed their determination to combat terrorism. The Alliance also agreed on a new command structure adapted to NATO's new roles and missions.
  • Initiated the Partnership for Peace (PfP) in 1994 among NATO, the neutral powers and the military organizations of the new democracies of Central Europe, and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to strengthen security in Europe and help aspiring members prepare for possible membership through practical training and joint exercises with NATO. The Partnership for Peace now has 26 members, with Croatia joining most recently, on 24 May, 2000.
  • Launched a PfP military exercise program between NATO and PfP members in 1994. Nineteen NATO-sponsored PfP exercises occurred in the period July 1999-June 2000, three of them in the United States. The Partnership continues to show its value in Bosnia and Kosovo, where forces from Partner countries are serving shoulder-to-shoulder in NATO-led peacekeeping operations.


  • Joined OSCE leaders in Istanbul in November 1999 to adopt the Charter for European Security which commits members to establish Rapid Expert Assistance and Cooperation Teams (REACT) to assist in conflict prevention and crisis management.
  • Joined the other 29 parties to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) in signing the CFE Adaptation Agreement in Istanbul, Turkey in November 1999, to bring the Treaty in line with the post-Cold War security environment. The Adapted Treaty creates a new, highly stable, transparent set of limitations on conventional forces. It replaces the Treaty's obsolete bloc-to-bloc structure with nationally-based limits, enhances transparency through more information and inspections, strengthens requirements for host nation consent to the presence of stationed forces, and opens the Treaty to other European states. In related commitments, Russia agreed to withdraw its forces from Moldova and to reduce its forces in Georgia. The new Vienna Document 1999 improves confidence and security-building measures and will facilitate regional politico-military cooperation through the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation. In the year after the Istanbul summit, the Clinton Administration took the lead in promoting Russian compliance with the terms of the Adapted Treaty and related agreements.
  • Took part in certain OSCE missions in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Moldova, Belarus, the Baltic states and elsewhere, providing independent observation, analysis and recommendations aimed at resolving ethnic conflicts within member states. OSCE provided police officers as well as judicial and administrative personnel, elections specialists and media experts to support development of civil society.
  • Initiated the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe with the European Union and adopted it in Sarajevo in July 1999. This historic partnership between the international community and the countries of Southeast Europe is designed to accelerate the region's democratic and economic development, bolster security and advance integration into the European and transatlantic mainstream.


Washington Summit Declaration, April 23, 1999.

Speech by President Clinton at the Washington Summit, April 23, 1999.

Remarks by President Clinton at Baltic Charter Signing Ceremony, January 16, 1998.

Madrid Summit Declaration, July 8, 1997.

Brussels Summit Declaration, January 10-11, 1994.

OSCE Istanbul Summit Declaration, November 18-19, 1999.

OSCE Charter for European Security, November 18-19, 1999.

Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed
Forces in Europe, November 19, 1999.

Final Act of the Conference of the States parties to the Treaty
on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

Statement by the President on the CFE Treaty, November 19, 1999.

OSCE Vienna Document 1999.

OSCE Vienna Declaration and Chairman's Summary, November 2000.

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House
White House for Kids | White House History
White House Tours | Help | Text Only

Privacy Statement