BERLIN, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A summit of European Union leaders in Brussels will likely approve a bid by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to become a candidate to join the bloc, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday.
"...I assume that the European summit will come out in favour of Macedonia being granted candidate status," Steinmeier said in a speech to the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
Steinmeier said to meet objections raised by four EU countries he expected leaders to link opening talks with FYROM to a debate on the bloc's future borders, something France has requested.
The executive European Commission has recommended granting FYROM, which was on the brink of civil war four years ago before an EU-mediated power-sharing agreement with its Albanian minority, candidate status as part of a broader strategy of integrating all the countries of the Western Balkans.
Steinmeier said Germany believed granting FYROM candidate status was also important to provide a tailwind for talks next year on the status of Kosovo.
Steinmeier was speaking before leaving for the summit in Brussels, that is due to start later on Thursday. He said the summit could run into Saturday because of talks about a long-term EU budget, the main issue on its agenda.