First published: July 1997
The first East European states will be admitted to NATO in July at a summit in Madrid and become full members by 1999. Having delayed for fear of losing Boris Yeltsin last year’s presidential elections, NATO is now poised for rapid expansion towards Russia’s western borders.
The states most likely to be admitted in July are Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. All three occupy the strategically crucial central European corridor between Russia and Germany. Other candidates are Romania, which has the backing of France, and Slovenia, sponsored by Italy.