North Macedonia and Albania have received promising news after updated progress reports published by the EU's executive body said both countries had delivered results and appeared ready to open EU accession talks.
The European Commission said the two Balkan states had "stepped up their work and delivered further tangible and sustainable results in the key areas" since June 2018.
Combined with the new EU enlargement methodology, the latest progress reports bolster the chances of Albania and North Macedonia of getting a date for starting accession negotiations.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who took part in blocking the opening of talks with Skopje and Tirana in October, said last month he was willing to allow them to begin membership talks if the European Commission gave them a positive review in March.
"The European Commission stands firmly by its recommendations to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, and I hope that the Member States will take a positive decision in the coming weeks," Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi wrote.
He said the two countries had reformed their economies, judicial systems, and other areas in preparation for meeting EU standards.
EU member governments are expected to decide later this month whether to offer to open membership talks.
In May, a summit in Croatia is scheduled with EU leaders and all six Western Balkan candidate countries: Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and North Macedonia.
North Macedonia’s pro-European government, led by the Social Democrats, expects a difficult electoral fight to remain in power in the April 12 general elections.
European Commission: Albania, North Macedonia Merit EU Membership Talks
Bodies Of Russian Mercenaries Litter Field After Donetsk Battle With Ukrainian Army2
Long-Range Missiles? Special Op? Regardless, Crimean Air Base Blasts Are A 'Real Quandary' For Russia3
'We Were Nothing To Them': Russian Volunteer Reservists Return From War Against Ukraine Feeling Deceived4
Interview: Has Ukraine's Southern Offensive Finally Begun?5
Explosions Rock Military Airport In Belarus Days After Crimea Air Base Attack6
Bulgaria's Underground Truffle Trade7
Ukraine Targets More Russian Arms Depots As Safety Fears Grow At Occupied Nuclear Plant8
Satellite Images Of Russian Base In Occupied Crimea Before And After Massive Explosions9
Salman Rushdie Hospitalized On Ventilator, With Damaged Liver, Severed Arm Nerves, After Attack10
The Prisoner Who Could Have Been President: After Two Years In Solitary Confinement, Belarusian Blogger Has 'No Regrets'