NATO invited Macedonia to start membership talks as a step towards adding its 30th member, despite Russia’s objections and demonstrating unity at a time of growing divergence between the Trump’s administration and the European allies.

The invitation on Wednesday, 11 July, came at the NATO summit, in which US President Donald Trump requested more military expenditure from some allies, who, according to him, don’t take things seriously. Countries such as Canada and Britain have engaged more with new human forces than with new financial resources.

Republic of Macedonia has received a invitation for membership, provided that it eventually settled the dispute about its name with Greece. Athens has made a big step forward in the deal that leads to the renaming of the country of Northern Macedonia. The Macedonian voters and the Greek Parliament still have to sign the agreement, which could suspend Greek objections to the ambition of the Skopje government to join the European Union.

“After the completion of all national procedures for finalising the name agreement, the country will join NATO as its 30th member,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. “However, it cannot become a member if it does not change its name.”

Russia, the most famous NATO rival, complained about the possible addition of another member to the Alliance, leading to a revival of the Cold War style. Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev welcomed the invitation but noted Moscow’s objections.

The confidence of enlargement came amid the tensions in NATO, particularly the ongoing pressure on the allies from Trump to fund a larger share of military spending. Instead of new budget, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his country would lead the new NATO military training mission in Iraq with up to 250 troops. Canada does not implement the Alliance’s informal demand for Member States to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defence spending.

Canada’s proposal is part of NATO’s attempt to help Iraq recover and ensure that the Islamic State cannot get a new support there.

Britain Prime Minister Theresa May announced that he will send 440 military officials for a similar training mission in Afghanistan — the biggest foreign undertaking of the Alliance. The British commitment in Afghanistan came after NATO agreed to finance the Afghan Army in 2024. The addition of Britain will increase the efforts, that already are resulting in the training of about 16,000 soldiers.

“I think this shows that when NATO summons its members, Britain is one of the first ones acting,” May said, demonstrating a leading role in the Alliance, especially after Donald Trump’s two-way rhetoric.