NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and the Permanent Representatives of the 26 Allies welcomed the two Prime Ministers and their delegations.
“The accession of Albania and Croatia … is a testimony, not only to the appeal of our Alliance, but also to the vision and courage of it's founding fathers”, said NATO Secretary General. “[It] demonstrates that the idea of freedom is irresistible”, he added.
Albania and Croatia became NATO’s newest members on 1 April 2009, after depositing their instruments of accession with the US State Department in Washington. Both countries participated in their first Summit as full members of the Alliance in Strasbourg-Kehl on 3 and 4 April 2009.
Since 1949, NATO’s membership has increased from 12 to 28 countries through six rounds of enlargement.