The Partnership for Peace (PfP; French: Partenariat pour la paix) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) program aimed at creating trust between the member states of NATO and other states mostly in Europe, including post-Soviet states; 19 states are members. The program contains six 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.
Amidst 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. In the process, neutral countries also faced a situation in which they had to reconsider maintaining military neutrality; therefore, countries such as Finland, Sweden and Austria joined the Partnership for Peace field activities in 1997.
In the following decade, over the course of the 2000s, the PfP has made great progress. In 2002, it began the Individual Partnership Action Plan in order to provide members an opportunity to be granted further assistance from NATO without having to commit to becoming full members of NATO. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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 formally launched on January 10–11, 1994, at the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium. According to declassified U.S. State Department records, 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". In September 1994 Clinton told Yeltsin that NATO would expand, but there was no timetable. By that time, Yeltsin had claimed a Russian sphere of influence covering the Commonwealth of Independent States.
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. This initiative was designed by the US Secretary of Defense Les Aspin who did not want to exclude Russia from international security arrangements. This was mainly an initiative launched to encourage states to build democracy and active participation towards maintaining international security. 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. In the NATO summit held between January 10 and 11, 1994, the PfP was established by NATO under the North Atlantic Council (NAC). 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".
The PfP Framework Document presented six areas of cooperation, including:
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). 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. 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. 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. 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. By mid-October 1994, 22 states were part of the PfP.
On April 26, 1995, Malta became a member of PfP; it left on October 27, 1996, in order to maintain its neutrality. On March 20, 2008, Malta decided to reactivate its PfP membership; this was accepted by NATO at the summit in Bucharest on April 3, 2008. During the NATO summit in Riga on November 29, 2006, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia were invited to join PfP, which they did on December 14, 2006.
|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[a]||EU member|
|Moldova||March 16, 1994||GUAM member|
|Russia||June 22, 1994||CSTO member|
|Serbia||December 14, 2006|
|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|
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.
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.
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. 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. Turkey, a full member of NATO, is likely to veto any attempt by Cyprus to engage with NATO until the dispute is resolved. President Nicos Anastasiades publicly supported PfP membership for Cyprus, 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.
See also: Kosovo–NATO relations
Kosovo has described PfP membership as a tactical and strategic objective of the government. 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. To be eligible to join, the Kosovan Armed Forces must be established.
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.
|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||March 27, 2020|
|Finland||May 9, 1994||April 4, 2023|
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 is still not a NATO member.
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. 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.
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.
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.
The 2008 Russo-Georgian War had implications for the Partnership for Peace. 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". 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.
As of 2023, Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only remaining participant in NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP).
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.
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. Another factor includes the reduction of distribution of WIF funding in the program amongst aspiring members of NATO.
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.
The cabinet has agreed to reactivate its membership in the Partnership for Peace which was withdrawn in 1996, the government said on Thursday.
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).