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EU Set to Resume Expansion Push With Balkan Accession Talks

  • Bloc may begin negotiations with Albania, North Macedonia
  • Green light could be given at Oct. 15 meeting of EU ministers
Zoran Zaev, North Macedonia's prime minister, arrives at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. The third annual Forum brings together important global leaders from the public and private sectors to address the threats from global warming to economic prosperity and examine the opportunities for solutions.
Zoran Zaev, North Macedonia's prime minister, arrives at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. The third annual Forum brings together important global leaders from the public and private sectors to address the threats from global warming to economic prosperity and examine the opportunities for solutions.Photographer: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg

The European Union will probably authorize the start of formal accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia next month, betting that the prospect of membership in the club will help further anchor the continent’s troubled Balkan region to the West.

“In light of the progress achieved on reforms,” EU ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Oct. 15 will decide to “to open accession negotiations” with the governments in Tirana and Skopje, according to a draft of their communique circulated on Friday and seen by Bloomberg. While the wording could still change, a previous draft, also seen by Bloomberg, didn’t include the recommendation to begin talks.