Albania and Macedonia can not begin EU membership negotiations because of a veto from France. It is an open break in the EU – Chancellor Angela Merkel and the designated EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen again criticized.
At a joint press conference, the politicians emphasized the importance of the prospects of joining the EU for the countries. Merkel stressed that the EU should also be interested in countries' accession for strategic reasons. Von der Leyen argued similarly, saying that the EU must bind the Western Balkans with such an accession perspective. Albania and North Macedonia made "incredible efforts" to meet EU requirements.
There is massive anger in the EU over France
From the Leyen Albania and North Macedonia promised special aid programs. This is intended to alleviate the disappointment of the two Western Balkan countries, who are for the time being denied the hoped-for EU accession talks.
France's President Emmanuel Macron recently locked himself against accession talks for the two states. He wants to first reform the process of negotiations. It would have to be possible to break off such talks if there was no consensus, argues Macron.
There is massive anger in the EU about the French attitude, which was recently sharply criticized by Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble and Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Maas spoke of the "biggest mistake the EU has made for a long time".