From the Office of Senator Richard Lugar: U.S. Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) has introduced the NATO Enhancement Act, a bill to encourage further enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and to deepen U.S. strategic partnerships with NATO allies.
“NATO enlargement has been a key element to enhancing stability and political reform among the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans.” Lugar said. “The prospect of membership in NATO has not only improved regional security, it is helping to transform nations into close economic and national security partners of the United States.”
Specifically, the NATO Enhancement Act:
- Re-affirms the “Open Door” policy for all qualified nations to join NATO and rejects any notion of privileged spheres of influence.
- Declares for the first time in U.S. legislation that all four nations currently seeking accession to NATO (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, and Montenegro) are to be considered NATO “aspirants.”
- Designates Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro as eligible to receive U.S. assistance geared towards NATO accession under the 1994 NATO Participation Act and reauthorizes assistance under the 1994 NATO Participation Act for Georgia and Macedonia.
- Urges President Obama to provide a clear roadmap for the accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, and Montenegro to NATO at the Chicago Summit in May 2012.
- Encourages further efforts to develop Ukraine’s partnership and interoperability with NATO, a goal that has been re-affirmed by the Ukrainian Government.
- Requires a report to Congress on U.S. efforts underway to facilitate further NATO enlargement; on the readiness of Bosnia, Georgia, Macedonia, and Montenegro to join NATO; and on U.S. policies to uphold Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- Calls on Europe to shoulder a larger share of the burdens for the development of NATO’s territorial missile defense program.
- Urges NATO allies to reduce the defense gap with the United States by equipping themselves with capabilities that are deemed to be critical, deployable, and sustainable; to meet the agreed upon benchmark of spending at least 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense; and to demonstrate political determination to achieve these goals.
“I am hopeful that the Senate will pass this measure before the NATO Summit in Chicago this May,” Lugar noted.
Lugar has championed NATO enlargement since the early 1990s and led efforts in past rounds of enlargement to grant Protocols of Accession to Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, and Croatia. (photo: Getty)