The annual progress reports on EU entry hopefuls, due to be published on Nov. 5, will be a mixed bag. Turkey will be told to give a new impetus to reforms and Serbia promised it can get candidate status next year if it takes the right steps.
"Croatia is expected to reach the final phase of accession negotiation by the end of 2009 if it has taken necessary preparatory steps," the draft strategy paper said.
"Subject to Croatia maintaining its overall progress in its preparations, the Commission will present a communication by mid-2009 on a financial package for the accession of Croatia."
But Macedonia will be disappointed as the draft showed it would not get the green light to start accession talks that it had hoped for.
"The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia made some progress in the course of last year, but does not yet meet the political criteria," the draft said, criticizing the country for a flawed general election.
The bloc's executive Commission will tell Turkey it needs to put much more effort into reforms to make progress in its path to EU accession, said the draft -- which could see minor changes when the EU executive adopts it next week.
"New impetus needs to be given to reforms in order to strengthen democracy and human rights, to modernise and develop the country and bring it closer to the EU," the draft said.
The draft report reaffirms the view of Commission officials that Serbia could get EU candidate status in 2009 if it steps up reforms and fully cooperates with the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).