On November 21, 2002 at NATO Summit in Prague, Secretary General of NATO Lord Robertson announced that the Heads of State have invited Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to join NATO.
This decision changes fundamentally the strategic situation of the Baltic countries. As president George W. Bush said, “these countries will never again stand alone against a threat of aggression.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the enlargement “deepens the stability for Europe,” and that it “marks a profound step in improving European security.”
“This is a great day for Latvia,” declared President Vaira Vike-Freiberga. “For us, it means the righting of the injustices of history…rejoining the family of free, democratic and independent nations.”
The seven countries will formally join the alliance in May 2004 after the U.S. Senate and the parliaments of the NATO member countries ratify the enlargement.