By LORNE COOK
BRUSSELS (AP) — Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are moving forward in their quests to join the European Union. But countries in the volatile Balkans that have waited years longer to become members appeared to slip back in the queue. The European Commission recommended Wednesday in a series of reports that war-ravaged Ukraine should be permitted to open membership talks soon once it’s addressed some shortfalls. Neighboring Moldova was told the same thing. Georgia was granted official status as a candidate to join. The recommendations provide technical guidance to the 27 EU member states about how much progress countries have made in aligning their laws and standards with those of the bloc. EU leaders will weigh those recommendations on Dec. 14-15.