What is NATO? What does NATO stand for, member states, is Ukraine in NATO - and why is Ireland not in NATO?

NATO has existed since the end of the second world war - so, why is Ireland not part of NATO?

By Sarah McCann, Search and Trends Writer
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 4:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 3:11 pm

NATO has been making headlines in recent weeks, but what is the organisation and what does it stand for?

Here's what NATO is, what countries are members and the role it's played in the Russia Ukraine conflict explained.

What is NATO?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

NATO, which stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, was created in the wake of World War Two.

In March 1947, France and the UK signed the ‘Treaty of Dunkirk’ which meant they had an alliance if the Soviet Union attacked.

By 1949, as many other countries opted to join, the treaty grew and was expanded to the Washington Treaty, which was signed in April 1949.

This is how NATO began, with the sole purpose of providing security to the states that were members.

What is NATO? What does NATO stand for, member states, is Ukraine in NATO - and why is Ireland not in NATO?

This means any NATO state that is threatened, can count on NATO for support.

Read More

Read More
Why is Russia invading Ukraine? Simple explanation of Russia Ukraine war - and w...

Which countries are in NATO?

NATO is currently made up of 30 member states, with 3 states aspiring to join.

The states are:

United States

United Kingdom

Belgium

Canada

Denmark

France

Iceland

Italy

Luxembourg

The Netherlands

Norway

Portugal

Greece

Turkey

Spain

Germany

Hungary

Czech Republic

Poland

Bulgaria

Estonia

Latvia

Lithuania

Romania

Slovenia

Albania

Croatia

Montenegro

North Macedonia

The three aspiring countries who wish to join NATO are Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia and Ukraine.

Why is Ireland not in NATO?

Ireland has never applied to join NATO as the country has always held a neutral stance.

Ireland has no plans to join NATO, and public opinion in Ireland favours this.

Ireland is well known for being neutral throughout World War Two.

Is Ukraine a member of NATO?

Ukraine is an aspiring member of NATO, meaning it wants to join, just like other former Soviet countries have done.

However, this did not go down well with Russia, with President Putin stating that Ukraine joining NATO threatened Russia's 'historic future as a nation'.

Putin invaded Russia on Thursday, February 24, 2022 and war has been raging in the region ever since.

More from the News Letter: