NATO Enlargement: Albania, Croatia, and Possible Future Candidates [April 14, 2009] [open pdf - 790KB]
From the Summary: "At the April 2-4, 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, a principal issue was consideration of the candidacies for membership of Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia. The allies agreed to extend invitations to Albania and Croatia. Although the alliance determined that Macedonia met the qualifications for NATO membership, Greece blocked the invitation due to an enduring dispute over Macedonia's name. On April 1, 2009, [Albania and Croatia] formally became the 27th and 28th members of the Alliance when the Ambassadors of the two nations deposited the ratified instruments of accession at the State Department. […] Another issue debated at the Bucharest summit was NATO's future enlargement and the question of offering Membership Action Plans (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine. The MAP is generally viewed by allies and aspiring alliance members as a way station to membership. However, it is not an invitation to join NATO, and it does not formally guarantee future membership. […] However, despite strong U.S. support, the allies decided after much debate not to offer MAPs to Georgia and Ukraine at Bucharest. Opponents cited internal separatist conflicts in Georgia, public opposition to membership in Ukraine, and Russia's strong objection to the two countries' membership as factors influencing their opposition. The allies pledged that Georgia and Ukraine would eventually become NATO members but did not specify when this might happen. The August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia seemed to place the membership prospects of Georgia and Ukraine aside for the immediate future."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34701