Estonia in NATO


Why does Estonia participate?


Besides enjoying the benefits resulting from independence, a democratic country should consider taking obligations at international arena for granted. The European Union and NATO membership has considerably increased our security at a global level. Nevertheless, this does not mean that we can just sit back, relax and enjoy the status given by the membership of these organisations, without offering our contribution. Being an equal member of an international community requires participation in international crisis management and in ensuring peace at international arena.


Estonia uses the principle of indivisibility of security to interpret its security. Our security is directly linked to the developments within the international security environment. Success in international operations is vitally important for Estonia as this affects not only the security of ourselves and our allies but also the global position of international organisations important for us.


Estonia’s participation in international operations represents our most important contribution to co-operation with NATO and other international organisations. Our international reputation as a security co-operation partner is directly dependent on the country’s readiness and capability to contribute to NATO, UN and European Union operations. Estonia’s contribution to peace support operations has increased every year.


Estonian Chronology


1991 – NATO Rome Summit and creation of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC). NACC becomes the structure for cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries in a changed political situation. Estonia is one of the founding members of the NACC.

1994, January – Partnership for Peace (PfP) is introduced at NATO Brussels Summit.

1994, February 3, Estonia joins the PfP program.

1995, January – Under PfP the Planning and Review Process (PARP) is started. Estonia takes part in the process, which is designed to provide a basis for identifying and evaluating forces and capabilities which might be made available for multinational training, exercises, and operations in conjunction with Alliance forces.

1996 – The 16+1 negotiations between NATO and Estonia start under the name of Intensified Dialogue on the Questions of Membership.

1997, May – In the meeting of foreign ministers of NATO partner countries in Portugal, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) is created. EAPC replaces NACC.

1999, April – NATO Washington Summit. NATO’s 50th anniversary is celebrated. NATO recognises Estonia as a probable applicant country. Membership Action Plan (MAP) is presented to nine candidate members.

2002, November – NATO Prague Summit. Estonia along with Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia is invited to begin accession talks to join NATO.

2003 January to 2003 March – accession talks to join NATO are held.

2003, March 26 – representatives of the 19 NATO member countries sign Protocols of Accession, which once ratified by the Allies would allow seven new states to join NATO.

2004, March 10 – Estonian Parliament (the Riigikogu) ratifies the North-Atlantic Treaty (Washington Treaty), and the President promulgates it on 11 March 2004.

2004, March 29 – the North-Atlantic Treaty (Estonia’s instruments of accession) is deposited in the US Treasury Department making Estonia an official member of NATO.

2004, April 2 – A ceremony to mark the accession of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to the North Atlantic Treaty took place at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. The flags of the 7 new members were added to the 19 flags flying in front of the NATO headquarters.

2004, June – NATO Istanbul Summit. Estonia participated as a full NATO member for the first time.