EU Deadlocked over Accession Talks with Albania – France, Netherlands, Denmark Against

The first day of discussions among the EU leaders at the European Council summit borne no fruits for Albania and North Macedonia’s opening of accession talks.

A unanimous decision in favor of Albania was opposed by France, which is pushing for a reform of enlargement procedures, and the Netherlands, Denmark and reportedly Spain, which argued that Albania had not made enough progress in reforms and opening accession talks was premature.

The latter three countries were reportedly in favor of decoupling the two countries and give the green light to North Macedonia only, but Italy and Germany opposed the idea, while France remained against the enlargement process as a whole.

North Macedonia found only France’s opposition on its European integration path.

Following a six-and-a-half hour discussion, yesterday the EU leaders left the summit without adopting any conclusions on the two Balkan countries. Discussions are expected to resume today, the last day of the summit.

Euractiv reported that France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark are considering a compromise to push the topic back to April or May 2020, in order to appease France and for its potential reforming of the enlargement process to take off in the mean time.