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.
Britain’s exit from the European Union was made possible by the “lies uttered” during the June 2016 referendum campaign but also because Europe has not changed enough, Emmanuel Macron said on January 31, this Brexit must constitute “a historic alarm signal” for the EU. (Image: archive).
“This departure is a shock, it is a historic alarm signal which must resound in each of our countries”, declared the president of the Republic in a televised speech diffused less than six hours before the effective exit of the Great Brittany from the EU at midnight (23:00 GMT).
“We must remember at all times what lies can lead to in our democracies,” he continued.
“This Brexit is possible, has been possible and will come into effect in a few hours because we have too often made Europe a scapegoat for our own difficulties, because also we have not changed our Europe enough. We need Europe more than ever “, said Emmanuel Macron.
“I am aware that Europe can only continue to move forward if we reform it in depth, to make it more sovereign, more democratic, closer to our fellow citizens and therefore also simpler in its daily life and that we succeed in rebuilding a clearer European project for all of you. ”
Kiev is exchanging dozens of prisoners with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the first time in two years. The swap is a direct result of the recent Normandy Four talks in Paris, hosted by President Macron.
The Donetsk authorities has handed over 51 people to Kiev, while receiving 61. The Lugansk region returned 25 and took in 63 prisoners; nine people held by Kiev refused to take part in the exchange.
The office of Ukrainian President confirmed that Kiev had received a total of 76 people from Donetsk and Lugansk.
Donetsk’s responsible for the exchange said their list could be longer, as some people asked to be repatriated shortly before the exchange.
The swap, carried out under an “all for all” formula, was the first since a similar humanitarian effort in December 2017.
The prisoner exchange was overseen by officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). No ceasefire violations were recorded on the frontier during the exchange operation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin schedules bilateral meetings with Ukrainian, French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and President Vladimir Zelensky at margins of the Normandy Four Summit in Paris on December 9, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced.
Peskov underlined that the Kremlin expected the Normandy Four summit will contribute to conflict resolution in southeastern Ukraine.
“[Putin’s] attitude is serious, the only expectation is to facilitate efforts to resolve the domestic conflict in southeastern Ukraine, ensure a common understanding that there is no alternative to implementing the Minsk Agreements and prevent attempts to dilute them,” spokesperson said.
Peskov expressed confidence in French authorities capabilities to succeed in creating necessary conditions for thec Summit despite the current protests in Paris.
“We are not inclined to exaggerate the threats the Summit could face as we believe that the French authorities are capable of creating conditions for the meeting and will do it,” Peskov said.
French Emmanuel Macron’s pessimistic diagnosis of NATO “brain dead” has caused the shock waves among Europeans, but apparently that’s a risk the French president is prepared to take, launching alam over non-compliance of some of the Alliance members with democratic standards, namely Turkey belligerent actions. (Image: archive).
In an interview with The Economist magazine, Macron also warned Europeans could no longer rely on the United States to defend its allies and they needed to take security into their own hands.
Although French President has long urged Europe to think of itself as an autonomous “sovereign power”, his verdict on the archaic 70-year old Alliance, conceived father the WWII in a totally different political context, Germany’s Angela Merkel assessed as too “drastic”.
Emmanuel Macron is convinced that the assessment is needed to wake up Europeans to engage in polemics ahead of NATO’s December 4 summit in London.
The franc criticism of NATO came shortly after the grand national funeral to Jaque Chirac who stood against NATO invasion of Iraq. The admiration of French nation to late Chirac for his independent foreign policy, distancing V Republic from American military adventures, known as “wars for oil’ has certainly inspired President Macron to undertake Gaullist stance against the U.S. military might.
The Kremlin was among the enthusiastic observer’s of Macron’s assessment of NATO state of affairs. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova described Macron’s verdict as “golden (precious) words” constituting the “precise definition of the current state of NATO.”
In in the coming weeks the prefecture of Meurthe-et-Moselle (France) will authorize shooting of the wolf, accused of a multitude of herd attacks, especially in the south of the department. the decision announced on July 4th. The licence to kill the last surviving wolf is considered as pro-hunting lobby success, phrasing the understanding and sympathy of President Macron to their passion to spend free time killing wild animals. In March Emmanuel Macron announced that from 17% to 19% of the population of wolves can be slaughtered, while the scientific expertise, commissioned by the Ministry of Ecology, indicates that the permissions to hunt should not to exceed 10% of the estimated number so that the population presenting a numerical balance remains stable.
The wolf protection French NGO CAP Loup launched an appeal the state to abandon its plans to slaughter 500 wolves, and to prioritize the policy of protection of herds. They also insist on inclusion in the National Wolf Plan a precision that shooting a wolf should remain a justifiable exception, as provided for by the derogation rules of Annex IV of the Habitats Directive, and not a political solution of ease that becomes the rule.
French conservationists consider the extermination of 500 wolves is not a reasonable measure, pointing that “France is increasingly in contradiction with the international texts of the Bern Convention and especially the European Habitats Directive”. Limiting the wolf population in France to its current size means keeping it in a “vulnerable” status quo, as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is “not a favorable conservation status”, CAP Loup underlines.
EU leaders suspended Sunday Summit after 20 hours marathon talks failing to produce an agreement on who should be appointed for the bloc’s top jobs, prompting criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron who said Europe’s indecisiveness was damaging its image abroad. (Image above: arrivals).
The failure to reach consensus during 20 hours long night owl negotiations reflected the fragmentation of the bloc’s politics, occurring after the European elections, leaving both center right and left substantially weaker.
President Macron, who left the Council premises shortly after the talks were suspended till Tuesday morning, labeled the breakdown a “failure” though he added an agreement could still be found.
Eastern European countries had strongly objected the candidates, proposed by Macron, and the leaders of Germany and Spain to attribute presidency of the European Commission to Dutch Socialist Fran Timmermans. His candidacy did not inspire Italian either.