French President Emmanuel Macron has been strongly criticised for preventing the launch of the accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania in October; now, in turn of events, proposals for reforming the accession process are coming from none other than official Paris, says Deutsche Welle.
A six-page informal proposal from French diplomacy seeks to appease the anger directed at President Macron, whose decision to halt accession talks had caused a clash with the rest of the European Union, in particular with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Now Paris is presenting reform proposals, the implementation of which the French President has set as a condition for the new enlargement of the EU, and the intention is to reduce the existing 35 chapters to seven key thematic areas, which should work separately.
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After each area is successfully completed, the EU would open access to one of its institutions; for example, Eurojust, the Judicial Cooperation Club, and then the Erasmus programme. Once the conditions for access to the internal market had been ensured, the first structural funds would be paid to the candidate countries.
EU diplomats responded differently, mainly questioning France’s willingness to accept other EU countries.
Deutsche Welle says that the latest document is calling for not only the reform of the accession process, but also for the reform of the entire EU, and shows that the French do not think seriously about the Balkans.
The European Parliament clearly disagrees with Macron’s “No!”; with the European MP, Katarina Barley saying it is important not to break the promises made to the candidate countries.
“That is why it is unacceptable to use the reform of the enlargement process as an excuse to deny the countries like North Macedonia and Albania, which have successfully implemented radical reforms in order to meet the EU requirements, the start of accession negotiations,” she said.
DW recalls that during the biggest enlargement phase, which included Eastern European countries 15 years ago, it was France that asked for Romania and Bulgaria to join the EU as quickly as possible.
It is enormously demotivating for the Western Balkan countries that their efforts have not been rewarded, Deutsche Welle writes, adding that other partners, such as Russia, China or Turkey, are keen to support the Balkan countries.
(Vesti online, 19.11.2019)
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