Looking behind France’s Shameful Veto on Albania, North Macedonia’s EU Accession Talks (written for The European Views*)

The EU integration prospects of the Western Balkans have been thrown in disarray by French President Emmanuel Macron, hopefully not as part of some sort of a nasty backstage deal among world powers. Map: EPP
(*This opinion / analytical article was written by Ivan Dikov for The European Views website.)

The rationale for Macron’s decision doesn’t make sense as purely “enlargement fatique”.


There has already emerged something like a wide-ranging consensus among pundits that French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to block the start of the EU accession negotiations of Albania and North Macedonia has been very, very wrong.

Something like US President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Syrian Kurds but on behalf of France and on the intra-EU stage – either disastrous, or disgraceful, or both.

A decision that is hurting the credibility not just of France as an European leader but also of the entire European Union and all values, principles, and other wonderful stuff it stands for.

My first draft of this article was entitled, “Tell Macron You First Start EU Accession Talks, Then Drag Them Out as Needed”, or something of the sort.

The logic of EU accession negotiations is that simple – they are not a guarantee for EU membership by any means, they can last as long as needed, and they might even end up being entirely unsuccessful.

All that depending on the will and capabilities of the EU candidate country to reform and meet the already well-articulated EU criteria.

The best thing about EU accession talks is precisely that – they are this incredibly efficient and amazing instrument to get the EU candidates to reform, and to reform primarily in the interest of their own people.

It’s the most powerful, and perhaps the only major tool in the EU toolbox for relatively successful dealing with the corrupt oligarchies of Eastern Europe in literally forcing them to improve the lives and prospects of their own compatriots, all the while meeting the criteria of the European Union in order to become full-fledged members.

(That’s assuming the candidate countries are from the still underdeveloped corners of Europe to the East and Southeast because if the likes of the already highly EU-convergent Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, you name it, for some reason decided to apply for EU membership, the talks would have more or less a purely harmonizational character.)…

Read the rest of this article on The European Views website here

(338 words cited out of a total of 1,828 words)

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