The European Commission is recommending that the EU launch membership talks with Albania and FYROM, even as enthusiasm for enlargement of the 28-nation bloc wanes.
The EU's executive arm, which monitors reform progress among countries hoping to join, said Tuesday that the two are on the right path.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the recommendations "are based on firm, strict assessment of progress made."
She added that "this decision to recommend opening negotiations is an encouragement to these countries to continue on the path of reforms."
FYROM's membership prospects have been held up by a dispute with Greece over the tiny Balkan country's name.
EU member states must endorse the European Commission's proposal before talks can start. [AP]