NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

This organization was set up in 1949, after the Second World War. 

12 countries, located in Europe and North America, signed the North Atlantic Treaty.

They concluded a political and military agreement to protect together their populations and their territories and to maintain peace.

This agreement is based on a principle of common defense. If one of the NATO countries is attacked, all the countries are attacked. 

In the event of an attack, the countries pool their military and equipment. This is called ‘NATO forces’.

When it was set up, the idea was to form a block against the Soviet Union, a giant country that was seeking to extend its influence in Europe.

This role of intimidation lasted until 1991, when the Soviet Union broke up into 15 countries.

Does NATO still exist?

Yes. Today, NATO has 30 countries. Representatives meet at the political headquarters in Brussels.

Every week or more, as required, a member from each country sits in the North Atlantic Council. 

This Council is chaired by the Secretary General, the highest position in the Alliance. 

Today, NATO’s priority issues are relations with Russia, with China, the fight against terrorism and cyber attacks.