STRASBOURG, France – Albania and Croatia officially became members of NATO at the Alliance’s summit in Strasbourg on Saturday (April 4th), after US President Barack Obama handed leaders of the two countries copies of the Washington Agreement that established the organisation.
It was signed exactly 60 years ago, on April 4th 1949. With the addition of Croatia and Albania, there are 28 members in NATO. Obama said he looks forward to the day when Macedonia will join as well. Skopje’s bid has been blocked by its long-standing name dispute with Greece.
The mood was festive in Tirana, where membership was celebrated with a grand military parade and a concert. According to polls, 99% of Albanians support the country’s NATO accession.
As for Croatia, Prime Minister Ivo Sanader predicted on Saturday that NATO accession will make EU accession easier. But not everyone was happy. Several hundred people gathered in downtown Zagreb carrying anti-NATO posters.