5. Raising of a new generation of government officials and civil servants that shall be committed to the idea of Euro-Atlantic integration. It must be a unique "euro-atlantic" elite that would enjoy authority and trust within NATO structures. It would enable the formation of core groups, which would be responsible for practical implementation of Ukraine's NATO accession idea in key ministries and government departments involved in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration.
6. Submitting an official written bid with a clearly spelled-out intention to join NATO. This step is an indispensable political and legal condition, which gives grounds to the Alliance to perceive the intention of a nation as a serious and tangible one so that NATO can respond to Ukraine by offering the Membership Action Plan and then extending invitation to join the Alliance. An intensive dialogue between both sides should precede the submission of the bid in order to agree on terms and conditions for making such step and on procedural matters.
7. Launching a wide-ranging programme of political and diplomatic events in NATO nations in order to form a positive image of Ukraine and convince policy-makers in those countries of the benefits of Ukraine's joining NATO.
Thus, credibility of Ukraine, as a necessary prerequisite for gaining NATO membership, can only be established by creating relevant objective and subjective preconditions.
An important condition, which creates credibility and enhances chances of Ukraine for joining NATO, is its capacity to make a tangible contribution to the fulfilment by the Alliance of its functions. Building up and demonstration of Ukraine's capacity to meet its commitments as a member of the Alliance can be ensured by addressing the following priority tasks:
1. Conducting Defence Review and elaboration of goals and implementation plans of the reform and development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with a view to ensure its NATO membership in the future.
2. Conducting Defence Review in the other elements of security sector, such as State border guards, Ministry of Interior, civil emergencies troops. On the other hand carrying out such a review in the said power structures, is significantly easier due to their small numbers. But on the other hand, it is also more complicated due to their closed nature and their lack of experience of co-operation with NATO structures. But the reform of these structures is the trustworthiest indicator of truly democratic transformations in Ukraine.
3. Introduction of a transparent system of defence planning and budget-making procedures, embracing NATO principles of elaboration of defence programmes and their financing.
4. Transition to NATO standards in the air traffic control system, including the functioning of the air traffic control services and monitoring the air space.
5. Standardisation of means of communication, command and control and staff procedures with a view to attain interoperability between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and those of the Allied powers. This includes such steps as publication of topographical maps of Ukraine's territory and drawing up of electronic maps of geo-informational system for the Armed Forces of Ukraine in accordance with NATO standards, introduction of NATO system of codes, etc. 6. Continued participation of units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in NATO-led multinational peacekeeping operations.
Fulfilment of the said tasks should lay down strong grounds for Ukraine gaining NATO invitation to implement the Membership Action Plan (MAP), which is necessary to obtain as early as during the Istanbul summit so that at the NATO summit of 2006 Ukraine could get invitation to join the Alliance. The year of 2006 could become the year of completion of Ukraine's Action Plan aimed at joining NATO in the short-term perspective.
Ukraine's Action Plan aiming at joining NATO in the short-term perspective will have to be implemented after receiving an official invitation to join the Alliance at the NATO summit of 2006, given favourable domestic environment within Ukraine and conducive international situation.
Such Action Plan is expected to implement, first and foremost, the legal procedure of accession to NATO. Normally, it takes about two years to have it completed. Therefore, in the best-case scenario, we can expect Ukraine to gain NATO membership no sooner than in the year of 2008. Translating this opportunity into reality depends, above all, on Ukraine itself.
As one of the most crucial developments in the area of international security, the enlargement and transformation of the North Atlantic Alliance turns around the formation of the new post-bipolar system of international relations. This process, without any exaggeration, determines the destiny of European countries, because it does not only consolidate the outcome of the bi-polar stand-off once and for all, but also outlines the common European basic political values within the borders of the Euro-Atlantic area, the affiliation to which is aspired by many countries in Europe, including Ukraine.
Therefore, the issue of the new role of the Alliance in ensuring security of the Euro-Atlantic area is high on the agenda. Shaping up of the new Euro-Atlantic architecture of security in the future is most likely to be realised through enhancing its basic structures, suchas:
o further NATO enlargement to the east;
o deepening of co-operative relations between the NATO and the EU in the area of security;
o involvement of Russia in the process of strengthening stability and peace in Europe;
o the economic and political development of the post-Soviet area. The influence by the USA and western european countries.
Further NATO enlargement to the east is an important component of the new architecture of the Euro-Atlantic security. The second wave of accession to the Alliance has meant the extension of the NATO main zone of responsibility in Europe. The accession of Slovakia and Slovenia meant filling in the "gaps" that existed within the zone. However, the main problems may occur not inside the zone but on its periphery, on the frontline of its enlargement. Under these conditions, Ukraine is becoming a key factor, which will determine the further enlargement of the Alliance. Ukraine has borders with Romania and Slovakia, the two new NATO member-countries. In this connection, the challenges and risks that may pose a certain
threat to all the structures of the Euro-Atlantic security should be taken into account. The possible risks include the following, namely:
1. The EU transformation into an independent geopolitical power in Europe and weakening of the Euro-Atlantic links between the USA and western European countries.
2. Restoration of the authoritarian regime in Russia accompanied by the return to the policy of geopolitical