Who are the Bucharest Nine countries on NATO’s eastern flank?
Recently, the envoys to India of nine Eastern European countries commonly known as the Bucharest Nine Countries jointly wrote in an article to “acquaint the Indian public with the basic facts on the ground” about the “premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified Russian aggression in Ukraine”.
- In the article, the envoys rejected the Russian claim (which has been amplified by the Chinese) about the eastward “expansion” of NATO, and “underlined that NATO is not an organisation that “expanded” to the east”, rather, “It was we, the independent European states, that decided on our own to go west.”
About Bucharest Nine Countries (B9 Countries)
- The “Bucharest Nine” is a group of nine NATO countries in Eastern Europe that became part of the US-led military alliance after the end of the Cold War.
- The Bucharest Nine or Bucharest Format, often abbreviated as the B9, was founded on November 4, 2015, and takes its name from Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
- The group was created on the initiative of Klaus Iohannis, who has been President of Romania, and Andrzej Duda, who became President of Poland, at the High-Level Meeting of the States from Central and Eastern Europe in Bucharest.
- The Bucharest Format (B9) offers a platform for deepening the dialogue and consultation among the participant allied states, in order to articulate their specific contribution to the ongoing processes across the North-Atlantic Alliance, in total compliance with the principles of solidarity and indivisibility of the security of the NATO Member States.
Composition of Bucharest Nine Countries
- The B9 are, apart from Romania and Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the three Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
- All members of the B9 were either part of the former Soviet Union (USSR) or the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.
- All nine countries were once closely associated with the now dissolved Soviet Union, but later chose the path of democracy. Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria are former signatories of the now dissolved Warsaw Pact military alliance led by the Soviet Union. (The other Warsaw Pact countries were the erstwhile Czechoslovakia and East Germany, and Albania.) Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were part of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
- All members of the B9 are part of the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
Opposition to Russia
- The B9 countries have been critical of President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine since 2014, when the war in the Donbas started and Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula.
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