Two decades ago on May 19, 2000, Lithuania and nine other countries expressed their will to join NATO. With the admission of North Macedonia into the Alliance on March 27, the Vilnius Group has fully achieved its goals.
“With [North Macedonia] becoming a full-fledged member recently, mission has been accomplished, intensive cooperation continues,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius tweeted on Tuesday.
Lithuania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania and North Macedonia signed a joint declaration on May 19, 2000 in Vilnius, expressing “solidarity and commitment to the creation of a Europe whole and free in an alliance [...] as the foundation for stability and security in the 21st century”.
“Having experienced the consequences of political indifference towards the fate of others far too often in our own history, we are committed to defend these values in order to contribute to freedom and peace,” the statement reads.
Out of the so-called Vilnius 10, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia became members of NATO in 2004. Albania and Croaita joined the Alliance in 2009, followed by North Macedonia in 2020.
The full statement from May 2000 can be read here.