Brussels: Yes, Paris: No - tearing West Balkans apart
Ursula von der Leyen, Josep Borrell and Olivér Várhelyi unanimously told the Western Balkans that the European future was not brought into questionSource: Deutsche Welle
On the same day, Emmanuel Macron repeated his "no". What is the solution?
When France blocked the opening of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania in October, President Emmanuel Macron probably did not expect his opposition to the continuation of its existing enlargement policy to lift the Western Balkans and its future at the very top of the EU agenda, Deutsche Welle reports.
First, after the October debate by EU leaders on enlargement, which then overshadowed all other topics of the EU Council, a new convocation of the European Parliament adopted a resolution to support enlargement to the Western Balkans.
Then, the new Speaker of Parliament, David Sassoli, made his first official visit outside of the EU - to Skopje.
Von der Leyen: Changes can be implement along with enlargement
The Western Balkans marked the first working days of the new European Commission. At her first press conference after taking office as Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen addressed the region.
"It is absolutely crucial for us to make it as clear as possible to the Western Balkans that we want them on our side and that we have a strong interest in bringing them closer to the EU", von der Leyen said. She said it was important for the EU to "stick to the idea of accession negotiations" but also to listen to the positions of the member states when it came to changing the process.
"When it comes to accession negotiations, I would advocate that the process changes take place in parallel, that is, giving candidate countries the opportunity to start accession negotiations", Ursula von der Leyen said.
Borrell: Europe is the only solution
On the same day, the new EU Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, in the European Parliament, stressed that, despite open questions and debate on the enlargement methodology, the process cannot be called into question.
"We need to maintain momentum and continue to work with all member states to make everyone realize that we cannot close or abolish the EU perspective of the Western Balkan countries", Borrell said.
The experienced diplomat, former President of the European Parliament and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, recalled the tragic consequences the war in the former Yugoslavia had on the Western Balkans region.
"The legacy of that tragedy has created divisions, poverty and conflict on ethnic and national grounds, and Europe is the only one that can offer a solution to this situation", Borrell concluded.