France ‘torpedoes’ EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia, Albania

French President Emmanuel Macron reacts as he inaugurates the Commission on the first 1000 days of the child in Paris, France September 19, 2019. (Photo by PHILIPPE WOJAZER / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty Images)

France insists the EU should not, at this stage, greenlight the start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, a French diplomatic source said, speaking to the state-run North Macedonian News Agency MIA.

The decision on whether or not to start accession negotiations with these two countries is expected to be taken during the EU Summit on 17 and 18 October.

“The two countries have not implemented what is required of them and must make more efforts”, said a French official, who added that the EU should reassess the situation in the spring of 2020.

France’s position, according to diplomatic sources, is that the EU should focus on burning issues, such as the Brexit, migration and economic development, and that the issue of enlargement should be postponed for a later date.

If France insists on its position, then the EU will not approve the start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania at the Summit on 17 and 18 October, as such a decision requires a unanimous decision by all 28 EU member states.

Most EU countries, including Germany, are in favor of opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia, considering that the country has made good progress and has resolved the name issue.

Diplomats in countries backing North Macedonia’s and Albania’s accession course report that if the EU postpones its decision to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, puts its credibility at stake, while at the same time it creates the conditions for Russian influence in the region to increase.

ibna