French Ambassador to Serbia Jean-Louis Falconi said his country had “no reserves” regarding the EU accession of Western Balkan countries, adding that certain criteria must be fulfilled.
“On the issue of opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, I must say these countries have made exceptional efforts, especially with the signing of the Prespa Agreement. However, the enlargement issue is a specific commitment to reforms, especially the SPO reform in North Macedonia and the judiciary reforms in Albania. Conditions were set and they were not fulfilled. Some of our EU partners believed that negotiations should have opened regardless, whereas President Emmanuel Macron wanted to maintain a coherent position. This means there are conditions to join the EU, which are valid for Serbia and the others, and there are no concessions in this regard. Countries must implement required reforms. If we start to ‘budge’ on the conditions from the very start, the process will be slippery,” Ambassador Falconi told N1 TV.
With regards to the assessment of Matthew Palmer, the United States Special Envoy for the Western Balkans, that France made a historic mistake, Falconi says history should be seen on a longer term, especially when considering France’s long history.
“I believe this statement is wrong and not corresponding to the situation. This is an episode in the enlargement negotiations that should lead to EU accession. Palmer is a remarkable expert for the Balkans but obviously not an expert on the EU or the way it functions,” says Falconi.