Balkans | The 14th anniversary of Albania’s accession to NATO

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Balkans |  The 14th anniversary of Albania’s accession to NATO

It has been 14 years since Albania, a country in the Balkans, became a member of NATO.

Albania joined the Warsaw Pact in 1955 during the communist regime and left its membership in 1968.

After the dissolution of the communist regime in the country in 1991, Albania began the process of membership and cooperation with international institutions and turned towards Euro-Atlantic.

Albania’s NATO membership process; It has gone through many stages such as the transformation of its armed forces, its participation in peacekeeping missions, and the commitment of state institutions to support the security policies of the alliance.

The process began when Albania officially became a member of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) in 1992, which was created to improve relations with countries that had left the communist regime in Europe.

Albania signed the “Adriatic Sea Agreement” with Croatia, Macedonia (today’s North Macedonia) and the United States in May 2003. Albanian authorities described this as “an attempt to prepare the countries for NATO membership”.

Albania, which received an invitation to join NATO at the Bucharest Summit on April 2, 2008, officially started NATO membership negotiations on April 25, 2008.

Albania officially became a member of NATO on April 1, 2009, after ratification of the alliance’s accession protocols by NATO member states. Thus, one of the goals of the Euro-Atlantic orientation was achieved.

Albania, Croatia and Albania, which participated as full members of NATO for the first time at the NATO Summit in Strasbourg/Kiel held on April 4, 2009, were solemnly hoisted at NATO headquarters in Brussels on April 7, 2009.

The country with the highest popular support for NATO

Albania and NATO have cooperated in areas aimed at reforming the country’s defense institutions, particularly in the areas of defense and security.

According to information that the Albanian authorities based on NATO’s 2022 report, the country is recorded as “one of the countries with the highest level of public support for NATO across the alliance.”

Relations between Albania and NATO improved after NATO’s decision to build a tactical air base in the Albanian region of Kočova. This base is “NATO’s first air base in the Western Balkans”.

The implementation process of the project, which has a cost of about 45.8 million euros, began in January 2022. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2023, includes works such as rebuilding the air base runway, control tower, armory, fuel, aircraft parking, faults and fire station.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced that in 2022 he invited NATO to participate in co-financing the establishment of the coalition base in the military part of the port in the city of Durres in the central part of the country.

Regarding the Russo-Ukrainian war, Albania supported NATO’s position and stated that it condemned Russia’s “unprovoked attack on Ukraine”.

As a NATO member and an EU candidate, Albania also supports the intensification of cooperation between NATO and the EU to deal with various threats.

The Albanian Armed Forces have also contributed to international peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mali, Aegean Sea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chad, Georgia and South Sudan.

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