1994 Moldovan postage stamp dedicated to the Partnership for Peace.

The Partnership for Peace (PfP; French: Partenariat pour la paix) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) program aimed at creating trust and cooperation between the member states of NATO and other states mostly in Europe, including post-Soviet states; 19 states are members.[1] The program contains 6 areas of cooperation, which aims to build relationships with partners through military-to-military cooperation on training, exercises, disaster planning and response, science and environmental issues, professionalization, policy planning, and relations with civilian government.[2][3] During policy negotiations in the 1990s, a primary controversy regarding PfP was its ability to be interpreted as a program that is a stepping stone for joining NATO with full Article 5 guarantees.

Amidst the security concerns in Eastern Europe after the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Union, and also due to the failure of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), the program was launched during the summit in Brussels, Belgium between January 10 and 11, 1994.[4] In the process, neutral countries also faced a situation in which they had to reconsider maintaining military neutrality; therefore, countries such as Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the Partnership for Peace field activities in 1997.[5]

In the following years, over the course of the 2000s, the PfP has made significant progress.[citation needed] In 2002, it began the Individual Partnership Action Plan to provide members an opportunity to be granted further assistance from NATO without having to commit to becoming full members of NATO.[6] The program has additionally started an initiative for education, specifically military education. Over the course of its creation, the program has struggled with funding due to its ever-changing formation of members.[6]


Amidst the security concerns of the post–Cold War era, the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) was established in 1991 to pay attention to security issues in Eastern Europe.[7] The NACC was first announced at the Rome summit in November 1991 as NATO's first attempt to incorporate the former Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies into European security frameworks. This was intended to form diplomatic links between NATO and Eastern European military officials on industrial and military conversations.[3] After 1991, the NACC held annual ministerial meetings and regular consultations between Eastern and Western representatives of NATO's political, economic, and military committees. The objective of these meetings was to strengthen the relations between Eastern and Western Europe, thereby contributing to the regional political and military stability. However, the council contained 36 members of considerable geographic, economic, and cultural diversity who were at times in political dispute with each other. Eventually, this caused limited actions on the NACC's primary mission. By 1993, a range of Eastern European countries lost confidence in the NACC. The emergence of new states such as Croatia and Ukraine after the split of Czechoslovakia resulted in Slovakian Foreign Minister, Milan Kňažko, urging the creation of a security framework that would facilitate cooperation on all levels with NATO.[8] The shortcomings of the NACC in their insufficiency when dealing with fast-paced regional events, resulted in heightened pressure by NACC members for a membership into the NATO alliance and also the formation of an alternative program.[3]

The concept of the PfP was first discussed by the Bulgarian society Novae, after being proposed as an American initiative at the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Travemünde, Germany, between October 20 and 21, 1993, and it was formally launched on January 10–11, 1994, at the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium.[9] According to declassified U.S. State Department records,[10] President Clinton characterized to President Yeltsin the PfP as a "track that will lead to NATO membership" and that "does not draw another line dividing Europe a few hundred miles to the east".[11] In September 1994 Clinton told Yeltsin that NATO would expand, but there was no timetable.[12][13] By that time, Yeltsin had claimed a Russian sphere of influence covering the Commonwealth of Independent States.[14]


Between October 20 and 21, 1993, in Travemünde, Germany, a meeting for NATO defense ministers was held. In the meeting, the US proposed a program called the Partnership for Peace in response to issues in Eastern Europe.[9] This initiative was designed by the US Secretary of Defense Les Aspin who did not want to exclude Russia from international security arrangements.[15] This was mainly an initiative launched to encourage states to build democracy and active participation towards maintaining international security.[15] The program was also put in place in order to strengthen security cooperation with states in Central and Eastern Europe that were not part of the NATO alliance.[16] In the NATO summit held between January 10 and 11, 1994, the PfP was established by NATO under the North Atlantic Council (NAC).[3][15] It was claimed by Clinton that the partnership would give way for countries in Eastern Europe, including those that were part of the Soviet Union and even Russia itself to work together "for the best possible future for Europe".[9]

The PfP Framework Document presented six areas of cooperation, including:[17]

States were also promised offices at the NATO headquarters and at a Partnership Coordination Cell which was located near the SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe).[9] States participating in the initiative were to receive perks for cooperating, albeit less than states who had already had full membership in the NATO alliance.[16] NATO along with the US government announced that the existing alliance members would only need minimal contributions towards the cost of the initiative while the PfP members would have to fund for most of the cost of the program.[15] The PfP also increased the possibility for participating states who were not part of the NATO alliance to be an official member, but never actually guaranteed a NATO membership. It was claimed[by whom?] that the PfP was used to delay decisions regarding the move towards expanding NATO membership to non-NATO members in Europe.[9] It was also perceived[by whom?] as a devised plot by the West to prepare Eastern European states for the formation of a European Union by turning them into democratic states through military cooperation.[16] By mid-October 1994, 22 states were part of the PfP.[15]


On April 26, 1995, Malta became a member of PfP;[18] it left on October 27, 1996, in order to maintain its neutrality.[19] On March 20, 2008, Malta decided to reactivate its PfP membership;[20] this was accepted by NATO at the summit in Bucharest on April 3, 2008.[21] During the NATO summit in Riga on November 29, 2006, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia were invited to join PfP,[22] which they did[23] on December 14, 2006.[24]

Current members

Country PfP membership[23] Notes
 Armenia October 5, 1994 CSTO member
 Austria February 10, 1995 EU member
 Azerbaijan May 4, 1994 GUAM member
 Belarus January 11, 1995 CSTO member
 Bosnia and Herzegovina December 14, 2006
 Georgia March 23, 1994 GUAM member
 Ireland December 1, 1999 EU member
 Kazakhstan May 27, 1994 CSTO member
 Kyrgyzstan June 1, 1994 CSTO member
 Malta April 26, 1995[18][a] EU member
 Moldova March 16, 1994 GUAM member
 Russia June 22, 1994 CSTO member
 Serbia December 14, 2006 CSTO observer
 Sweden May 9, 1994 EU member
NATO accession protocol signed
 Switzerland December 11, 1996
 Tajikistan February 20, 2002 CSTO member
 Turkmenistan May 10, 1994
 Ukraine February 8, 1994 GUAM member
 Uzbekistan July 13, 1994
  1. ^ Withdrew on October 27, 1996;[19] reactivated its membership on March 20, 2008;[20] this was accepted by NATO on April 3, 2008.[21]


Main article: Austria–NATO relations

Austria's participation in PfP was strengthened in 1996. Their views on PfP focused on maintaining the ability and readiness to contribute to operations "under the authority and/or responsibility of the United Nations and/or NATO and/or the OSCE". An important area of Austrian PfP contribution is private emergency planning. 30% of all PfP activities in this field came from Austria in 1997. In that year, Austria participated in 227 activities, including 14 peacekeeping operations involving 713 people, within the framework of the NATO/PfP program.[5]


Main article: Sweden–NATO relations

In 1994, Sweden's foreign minister declared that the country's policy could no longer be classified as neutral because the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the extinction of the Warsaw Treaty had eliminated two alliances to be classified as neutral. In 1996, 61% of the Swedish preferred to participate in future European defense cooperation, and 55% believed Sweden should strengthen its relationship with NATO. For Sweden, the PfP is an "essential component of the emerging European security order." In 1997, Sweden participated in 15 different PfP field exercises, three of which were held and adopted 35 different interoperability objectives within the PfP's planning and review process.[5]

Aspiring members


See also: Cyprus–NATO relations

Cyprus is the only European Union member state that is neither a NATO member state nor a member of the PfP program.[25] The Parliament of Cyprus adopted a resolution in February 2011 in favor of PfP membership, but President Demetris Christofias said it would hamper his attempts to negotiate an end to the Cyprus dispute and demilitarize the island.[26][27] Turkey, a full member of NATO, is likely to veto any attempt by Cyprus to engage with NATO until the dispute is resolved.[28] President Nicos Anastasiades publicly supported PfP membership for Cyprus,[29] though his foreign minister and successor Nikos Christodoulides has dismissed the idea, preferring to keep the country's foreign and defence affairs within the framework of the European Union.[30]


See also: Kosovo–NATO relations

Kosovo has described PfP membership as a tactical and strategic objective of the government.[31] Kosovo submitted an application to join the PfP program in July 2012. However, four NATO member states, Greece, Romania, Spain and Slovakia, do not recognize Kosovo's independence and have threatened to block their participation in the program.[32][33] To be eligible to join, the Kosovar Armed Forces must be established[34] from the Kosovo Security Force.

Previous members

See also: Enlargement of NATO

Fifteen former member states of the PfP (namely Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) have subsequently joined NATO.

NATO members that were previously PfP members[23]
Country Joined PfP Became full NATO member
 Poland February 2, 1994 March 12, 1999
 Hungary February 8, 1994
 Czech Republic March 10, 1994
 Romania January 26, 1994 March 29, 2004
 Lithuania January 27, 1994
 Estonia February 3, 1994
 Slovakia February 9, 1994
 Latvia February 14, 1994
 Slovenia March 30, 1994
 Albania February 23, 1994 April 1, 2009
 Croatia May 25, 2000
 Montenegro December 14, 2006 June 5, 2017
 North Macedonia November 15, 1995[1] March 27, 2020
 Finland May 9, 1994 April 4, 2023


1.^ Known as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia before 15 February 2019.[35]


During the post-Cold War era, equal distribution of opportunities to contribute to peacekeeping operations was made, but the status of middle and neutral powers such as Sweden, Finland, and Ireland also decreased. Therefore, neutral countries also faced a situation in which they had to reconsider maintaining military neutrality in the current international political unipolar system. In June 1997, a senior NATO official said a broader role was aimed at working closer with NATO and finally joining the alliance. While the PfP provides a framework for cooperative relations with Russia, it did not include a membership into NATO. Although the PfP has made important contributions to crisis management, such as peacekeeping operations, Ireland and Austria are still not NATO members.[5]


In 2001, NATO granted participation in its Membership Action Plan (MAP) to nine of the 26 PfP countries. In 2002, NATO began the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) initiative during the 2002 Prague Summit.[6] The goal of this plan was to provide member states of PfP a chance to be granted assistance from NATO to "establish reform goals" without the pressure of committing to NATO.[6]

In 2003, the alliance assumed strategic command, control, and coordination of the mission and established a permanent International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul. Since then, the operation has grown to about 120,000 troops from 47 countries.[6]

During NATO's 2004 Istanbul Summit, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was launched. During this summit, six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council were included. Over the course of the summit, NATO also established the less formalized Partners across the Globe initiative.[6]

The 2008 Russo-Georgian War had implications for the Partnership for Peace.[36] President Dmitry Medvedev referred to an attack by Georgia against a Russian military base in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, as "Russia's 9/11".[36] The subsequent expansion of the previously bilateral Georgia Train and Equip Program, which had been established within the context of Georgia's participation in the PfP, was viewed with alarm in Moscow.[6][36]

As of 2023, Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only remaining participant in NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP).[37]

Partnership for Peace Education Initiative

The PfP has pushed for education programs amongst members of both NATO and the PfP composed of professional military education. Its purpose is to "contribute to peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond". These education programs and training are mostly focused on Central Asia and the South Caucasus.[38]

Struggles with funding

The Partnership for Peace has had ramification on its budget caused by the ever-changing formation of members. For instance, the average annual Wales Initiative Funding (WIF) established for the program was set at $43 million during the fiscal years of 1996 to 2005. In consequence of a decline in the number of countries participating in the program, annual funding was reduced to $29 million in fiscal years 2006 through 2010.[6] Another factor includes the reduction of distribution of WIF funding in the program amongst aspiring members of NATO.[6]

See also



  1. ^ North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (December 3, 2009). "Partner countries". Retrieved December 23, 2009.
  2. ^ "Partnership for Peace programme". NATO.
  3. ^ a b c d Simon, Jeffrey (1994). Partnership for Peace: Stabilizing the East. Defense Technical Information Center. OCLC 713348684.
  4. ^ Sunley, Johnathan. Tasks for NATO II: improve the partnership for peace. OCLC 82596203.
  5. ^ a b c d Ishizuka, Katsumi (2014). Ireland and International Peacekeeping Operations 1960-2000. Taylor and Francis. ISBN 978-1-135-29526-4. OCLC 879023336.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Christoff, Joseph A. (2009). "GAO Report on NATO Enlargement: Albania and Croatia". Connections: The Quarterly Journal. 08 (2): 75–91. doi:10.11610/connections.08.2.06. ISSN 1812-1098.
  7. ^ Kruzel, Joseph (1995). "Partnership for Peace and the Transformation of North Atlantic Security". In Papacosma, S. V.; Heiss, M. A. (eds.). NATO in the Post-Cold War Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan US. pp. 339–345. doi:10.1007/978-1-349-60836-2_15. ISBN 978-1-349-60838-6. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  8. ^ de Santis, Hugh (December 1994). "Romancing NATO: Partnership for peace and East European stability". Journal of Strategic Studies. 17 (4): 61–81. doi:10.1080/01402399408437570. ISSN 0140-2390.
  9. ^ a b c d e Borawski, John (April 1995). "Partnership for Peace and beyond". International Affairs. Royal Institute of International Affairs. 71 (2): 233–246. doi:10.2307/2623432. JSTOR 2623432.
  10. ^ "The President's Meeting with Czech Leaders". National Security Archive. William J. Clinton Presidential Library. January 11, 1994 – via George Washington University.
  11. ^ Savranskaya, Svetlana; Blanton, Tom. "NATO Expansion: What Yeltsin Heard". National Security Archive. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  12. ^ Jim Goldberger (November 22, 2019). "Promises Made, Promises Broken? What Yeltsin Was Told About NATO in 1993 and Why It Matters". War on the Rocks. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  13. ^ "Background Briefing". Clinton White House. September 21, 1994. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  14. ^ John M. Goshko (September 27, 1994). "Yeltsin Claims Russian Sphere of Influence". Washington Post. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  15. ^ a b c d e Gallis, Paul E. (1994). Partnership for peace. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. OCLC 299723964.
  16. ^ a b c Ruhle, Michael; Williams, Nicholas (July 4, 1994). "Partnership for Peace: A Personal View from NATO". The US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters. 24 (1). doi:10.55540/0031-1723.1717. ISSN 0031-1723. S2CID 221896802.
  17. ^ "Partnership for Peace: Framework Document issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council". NATO. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  18. ^ a b North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (April 26, 1995). "Secretary General's Council Welcoming Remarks, Visit by Maltese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Guido de Marco, Wednesday, April 26, 1995". Retrieved November 30, 2006.
  19. ^ a b Bohlen, Celestine (November 12, 1996). "New Malta Chief Focuses on Neutrality". New York Times. Retrieved April 5, 2008. Within hours of taking office, Mr. Sant withdrew Malta's membership in Partnership for Peace, a NATO military cooperation program that is so loosely defined that its sign-up list now spans the spectrum from Russia to Switzerland. [...] Mr. Sant says none of those moves should be interpreted as anti-European or anti-American, but simply as the best way of insuring Malta's security.
  20. ^ a b Gambin, Karl (April 3, 2008). "Malta reactivates Partnership for Peace membership". DI-VE. Archived from the original on March 23, 2008. Retrieved April 3, 2008. The cabinet has agreed to reactivate its membership in the Partnership for Peace which was withdrawn in 1996, the government said on Thursday.
  21. ^ a b North Atlantic Treaty Organization (April 3, 2008). "Malta re-engages in the Partnership for Peace Programme". Retrieved April 3, 2008. At the Bucharest Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government welcomed Malta's return to the Partnership for Peace Programme. At Malta's request, the Allies have re-activated Malta's participation in the Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP).
  22. ^ North Atlantic Treaty Organization (November 29, 2006). "Alliance offers partnership to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia". Retrieved November 30, 2006.
  23. ^ a b c "Signatures of Partnership for Peace Framework Document". North Atlantic Treaty Organization. October 5, 2006. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
  24. ^ "Serbia inducted into NATO". Associated Press. December 14, 2006. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved December 14, 2006.
  25. ^ Wilson, Damon (April 1, 2019). "NATO membership for Cyprus. Yes, Cyprus". Atlantic Council. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  26. ^ "Cypriot parliament votes to join NATO's Partnership for Peace". SETimes. February 25, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  27. ^ "Cyprus – Vouli Antiprosopon (House of Representatives)". Inter-Parliamentary Union. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  28. ^ Dempsey, Judy (November 24, 2012). "Between the European Union and NATO, Many Walls". New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  29. ^ Kambas, Michele; Babington, Deepa (February 24, 2013). "Cypriot conservative romps to presidential victory". Reuters. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  30. ^ "Cyprus dismisses reports on NATO scenarios". KNEWS - Kathimerini Cyprus. June 5, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  31. ^ "Hoxhaj në Lituani, merr përkrahje për MSA-në dhe vizat (Video)". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  32. ^ "Kosovo seeks to join international organisations". Turkish Weekly. July 19, 2012. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  33. ^ "Kosovo looking to join the Adriatic Charter". January 21, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  34. ^ Thaçi, Hashim. "Prioritetet e reja të Politikës së Jashtme të Kosovës". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo.
  35. ^ "Relations with the Republic of North Macedonia (Archived)". Brussels: NATO. September 17, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2023.
  36. ^ a b c Herd, Graeme P.; Flesch, Daniel A. (2008). "The Georgia Crisis: Implications for the Partnership for Peace". Connections: The Quarterly Journal. 08 (1): 1–10. doi:10.11610/connections.08.1.01. ISSN 1812-1098.
  37. ^ "Membership Action Plan (MAP)". Brussels: NATO. October 5, 2022. Retrieved April 4, 2023.
  38. ^ Keagle, James M. (2012). "A Special Relationship: U.S. and NATO Engagement with the Partnership for Peace to Build Partner Capacity Through Education". Connections: The Quarterly Journal. 11 (4): 59–73. doi:10.11610/connections.11.4.07. ISSN 1812-1098.