The EU General Affairs Council discussed the topic after France, the Netherlands and Denmark prevented last October the decision to start the talks, which some key players in the EU assessed as a serious historical mistake.
The countries are waiting for progress for North Macedonia and Albania, which the European Commission is to publish next week, and only then a true debate is expected, said Croatian State Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs Andreja Metelko-Zgombić.
The representative of the EU-presiding country added that she was "rather optimistic", but that the EU was facing a lot of work in this respect in the coming days.
While a debate had not been scheduled for today, almost all member states commented on the European Commission's proposal, which envisages a new three-stage approach, including a change in the enlargement methodology, start of accession talks and investment packages for candidates.
European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said that all member states which had joined the discussion had endorsed the new approach, and Marn also spoke about the wide support to what member states perceive as a well-balanced document.
The Slovenian representative said that all participants had expressed the hope that a decision on the start of talks with North Macedonia and Albania would be taken in March. "Even the more sceptical France and the Netherlands did not deny this possibility a priori; they are waiting for the progress reports," he added.
Asked about the chances of the two countries getting green light next month, Marn said that, based on today's debate, this was "very likely, but not certain".
He said that the new methodology was also expected to be adopted in March, but even if there was no consensus on the document, Slovenia and a number of other member states were pushing for North Macedonia and Albania to get the green light.
In this case, the May summit of the EU and Western Balkans would be focused on economic cooperation and would not be burdened with political uncertainty about the future of the enlargement process, concluded the state secretary.