“The door to EU membership for Albania and Macedonia remains closed at least until June 2019, but accession is on offer if the countries make progress on reforms, EU ministers decided Tuesday.

During a marathon session of the General Affairs Council, the majority of member countries argued in favor of opening membership talks now but France and Netherlands, with the backing of Denmark, were the main opponents, diplomats said.

The result of all-day discussions was a compromise text where the Council said it agreed to set ‘out the path towards opening accession negotiations in June 2019.’

However the two countries will have to show progress on making reforms in areas like battling corruption and improving their judicial systems. Those steps will be assessed in a future European Commission report and ‘depending on progress made’ there will be an intergovernmental conference with Albania and Macedonia ‘by the end of 2019.'” (Politico)