EU lawmakers called for faster steps to bring the Republic of Macedonia into the union, seeking to shore up the ex-Yugoslav state after it was shut out of NATO. The European Parliament urged EU government leaders to consider at a June summit setting a date for the start of membership talks with Macedonia, which is heading for early elections after the government collapsed earlier this month. In a 601-52 vote in Strasbourg, France, the Parliament said it hoped for the “opening of the accession negotiations before the end of 2008, which will further enhance the stability and strengthen the European prospects of the western Balkans.” (Bloomberg)

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