From 1948 until 1989, the foreign policy of Czechoslovakia followed that of the Soviet Union. Following independence, the Czechs made integration into Western institutions their chief foreign policy objective.
The Czech Republic became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), along with Poland and Hungary, on March 12, 1999. Public support for NATO remains high. The Czech Republic became a full member of the European Union on May 1, 2004. Both events are milestones in the country's foreign policy and security orientation. The Czech Republic successfully completed its first-ever EU Presidency during the first half of 2009.
The Czech Republic is a member of the United Nations and participates in its specialized agencies. It is a member of the World Trade Organization. It maintains resident embassies in 83 countries, and 163 countries have permanent representation in Prague.