NATO expansion has set a trend that is likely to have dire consequences for the Euro-Atlantic area in general and for Europe's southeastern periphery in particular. It is not too late to reverse this trend, however. The first imperative is to slow down the process of NATO enlargement, after the admission of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Secondly, it is essential to involve Russia in regional cooperation as much as possible. Thirdly, it is important to continue and enhance the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. Fourthly, there must be sustained US engagement in security and economic projects in the area. Fifthly, the European Union should assume its share of responsibility by accelerating its own expansion to central-eastern and southeastern Europe. NATO enlargement should not be the cover for further delays in the EU'. reluctant opening to the East.