France Opposes Opening Accession Negotiations with Albania & N. Macedonia

Reuters reports that France will oppose opening EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia during the European Council Summit next week.

According to the report, France has reiterated President Emmanuel Macron’s position from last year, that

the EU needs to reform from the inside first to tackle with greater vigour and unity such challenges as climate change and migration, and that the two hopefuls must carry out further reforms before the start of talks can be approved.

In the last weeks, the Netherlands has come out as another potential stumbling block for the Albanian government’s aim to open negotiations this fall.

Sources of Exit close to the Dutch government with knowledge of the matter have stated that the Netherlands would consider changing its vote if it were the only country blocking the negotiations. Now that France has also declared its intention to uphold its veto from 2018, this seems less likely.