France spark outrage from Brussels after blocking plan to increase size of EU

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The bloc’s enlargement commissioner blasted Paris to the ground the membership veto, saying it was “not a moment of glory for Europe” and apologised to the Balkan affirms. France’s European Affairs Minister Amélie de Montchalin said Paris would pierce to its hardline position until a deep reform of EU membership rules, which sweep from economic policy to human rights and the rule of law. “The first preoccupation we need to talk about is how Europe must reform the way it does enlargement and deals,” Mrs de Montchalin said, calling the accession process “an endless soap oeuvre”.

She added: “Is the process efficient? From our point of view, no.”

A French presidency decorous added Emmanuel Macron’s government would not agree to open talks for now.

“These nations will be part of the European Union one day… but it is too early to open the legal deal with towards enlargement for now,” the source said.

Last week, another French accepted said the two countries “are not there yet” and needed to make “additional efforts” in ukase to join the bloc. “We will need to reassess the situation somewhere in 2020,” he utter.

Paris argues the bloc faces too many challenges, including Brexit, a bolder China, migration, atmosphere change and security threats posed by Russia – to let in two more states from the Balkans, a pale still recovering from its 1990s wars and marred by crime and corruption.

Multitudinous than half of the EU’s 28 member states, as well as top officials in Brussels, are in go in for of opening the talks. But unanimity among all EU countries is required to launch negotiations.

They phobia that further delays in an already dragged-out process could backfire by a pink slip the Balkan hopefuls into the arms of Russia, China or Turkey, which could pursue to take advantage of the “strategic vacuum” in the unstable region.

While the Netherlands directed support for Paris’ opposition to entering into membership talks with Albania, most other EU powers voiced frustration with the French position.

“It’s very important to utter a political signal that enlargement is not dead,” said George Ciamba, Romania’s EU abb.

Apologising to the citizens of the two Balkan states, Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn imparted reporters in Luxembourg that “it was not a moment of glory for Europe”.

“We have to give our credibility in the Western Balkans and live up to our commitments. North Macedonia and Albania be enduring done their homework and implemented painful reforms,” he said.

For decades, the bloc has struggled to surplus enlargement with deeper economic and political cooperation. It now stretches from Portugal in the west to last communist states once in Moscow’s orbit to the east.

But the constant and high-speed expansion of the EU over the years has complicated decision-making and led to a kind of “enlargement weariness”. Turkey’s membership talks, for example, are all but frozen.

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