The outcome of the European Council in December 2009, when the EU Heads of state will gather, could result in a significant step forward towards EU integration for Croatia and Macedonia. It could also represent an important signal for other Western Balkan countries. Critical issues in both countries touch upon cross-cutting concerns such as inter-ethnic coexistence and bilateral disputes which delay EU integration. Citizens in the Western Balkans closely watch developments towards European integration for the region’s two most advanced countries. While a significant step forward – such as opening EU accession negotiations with Macedonia – would be a positive sign, on the other hand, any further deadlock after the December Council meeting could have unfavourable consequences for the region as a whole.