French President Emmanuel Macron clearly announced that he will not allow the opening of EU accession talks with Macedonia. During the joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron compared the EU to a small, narrow house, which can’t accommodate new “friends”, referring to Macedonia and Albania.

I congratulate the courage, perseverance and progress which was made by the two candidate countries, Albania and “North Macedonia”. They did a lot of work in the past few years. I recognize that and I would like to send a positive message. Also, like the Chancellor, I’m persuaded that the Western Balkans is a strategic place for Europe. On the other hand there are a few things we still need to finalize before we can open accession talks. I think that we need to reform the procedure, which is currently irreversible and not progressive. I share the geo-political and strategic vision with the German Chancellor. I would like to send a positive message to those leaders, but seriously looking at things I have to tell them that this time we need a little bit more time to settle things, Macron said.

Macedonia was pining its hopes on Merkel and her ability to persuade Macron to give up on his strict position during their meeting in Toulouse. France insists that the European Union must undergo serious internal reforms to deepen and centralize its working, before it can add new members. The French President also pointed out to problems in the candidate countries, such as the large numbers of asylum seekers from Albania.

Merkel expressed her hope that a way to open the accession talks could still be found.