Macron agrees to Albania and N.Macedonia accession talks

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would agree North Macedonia and Albania to begin talks on joining the European Union if the bloc’s executive gave them a positive review next month.

Macron’s comments at the Munich Security Conference ended his opposition to the two Balkan countries’ engagement into talks towards EU membership and reassure other European leaders that France still backs expanding the bloc to new members.

“We are waiting for the (European Commission) report in March … depending on that, if the results are positive and confidence is established, then we should be in a position to open the negotiations,” Macron announced the conference.

Macron had refused to approve the start of so-called accession negotiations at a summit in October, saying the process of admitting new members needed to change. One French minister called the accession process an “endless soap opera“.

Concerned by Chinese and Russian influence in the six states that aspire to join the bloc – Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and North Macedonia – Germany and the European Commission said Macron was shortsighted to block them.

The announcement of President Macron provocked a wave of vivid reactions from entire political specturm: from laudit of European Liberals as Guy Verhofstad to condemnation by French Conservatives as Nicolas Bay, who used social media to express his indignation: “NO to MAFIA STATE!”

While #Macron put aside all negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia two months ago, it turns around and is about to lift the opposition of France! NO TO MAFIA STATES and ISLAMISTS STRONGHOLD!” – Member of European Parliament Bay wrote on his Twitter microblog.

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