Ljubljana, European Union (EU) leaders gathered today to reassure six countries in the Balkans region that they could join the trading bloc one day if they meet its standards, but the presidents and prime ministers are unlikely to give any signal about when the nations might advance in their quests.

Despite years of talk about the “European perspective” of Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, the EU has seen its progress on admitting them stall. Albania and North Macedonia have met the criteria to start talks, but all 27 countries must agree unanimously for the process to move forward.

The latest hold-up focuses on Albania and North Macedonia. Those countries have fulfilled the criteria for beginning entry talks.

Slovenia, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, backs its Balkans neighbors’ EU membership hopes. Croatia was the last country admitted into the EU, in 2013.

EU membership is based on a candidate’s progress in areas, such as respect for the rule of law and democratic standards, and the implementation of specific socio-economic reforms.

The six are at different stages on the EU membership path. Montenegro and Serbia are the most advanced, having opened formal accession talks years ago. Albania and North Macedonia are awaiting the official opening of negotiations, and Kosovo and Bosnia are potential candidates, the Associated Press (AP) news reported.

Source: Oman News Agency