Emmanuel Macron, the French President, reiterated on Thursday his opposition to the opening of new chapters in the accession negotiations between the candidate countries and the European Union before the reform of the process itself, describing the current one as too bureaucratic and non-relevant, Serbia’s state RTS TV reported.
Stating Serbia as an example, Macron asked: “Does the opening of the chapters improve life in Serbia? I would say – no. That’s why the whole process should be reconsidered.”
During the NATO Summit in London, he advocated more EU investments in education, culture and economy in the Western Balkans.
He said that the enlargement policy could be reformed before the EU Summit in Zagreb in May next year.
Macron noted that the “EU made a collective mistake declaring the EU membership as our only relationship with the Western Balkans.”
According to him, the process should be more political and followed by a strategic partnership which would allow for more investments.
Macron said Paris was not the single opponent within the EU regarding a starting date for EU talks with Skopje and Tirana, but added he would take all the blame if that would be easier for the others.
However, Macron added that “the ultimate goal is to link the Western Balkans to Europe firmly. We know it’s a geopolitical challenge to avoid the intervention of other countries and destabilisation that is a risk for both the region and Europe. Some may see that link in the form of the EU membership, but it should be clear that it means a strategic partnership and more investments.”
“Many say let’s open negotiations now because we know they won’t be over in less than ten years. But that means we are playing with a whole generation if we say we’re opening the negotiations that will never end. Europe has done that with Turkey, and it has been going on for 40 years. That’s bad politics,” Macron said.