The upcoming President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced that Macedonia and Albania will receive additional projects and assistance, as consolation after the two countries were denied the opening of EU accession talks by France.

Albania and “North” Macedonia made enormous efforts to get to the point that we requested of them. As long as that is not possible, I will put all efforts toward developing common projects that strengthen the path toward close cooperation with the West Balkan countries and increasingly binding these countries to us. If we don’t do that, others will, Von der Leyen said during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Merkel also called on the two countries not to lose hope after they were denied the opening of accession talks by France. Prospects look bleak specially after the Economist interview with French President Emmanuel Macron, who painted the Balkans as a region of Islamism and announced serious security problems if Macedonia is allowed to open EU accession talks but Albania is not.