Malta one of nine countries blocking France’s position on EU enlargement

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Malta together with Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia have backed a counter-proposal to France’s push aimed at changing the process for taking in new members, arguing that North Macedonia and Albania should get the green light by March 2020 even if the rules are under review.

POLITICO reports that “The new “non paper” from the nine countries is clearly intended as a response to the French document. It states that an “enhanced approach to accession” should be “without prejudice to the decisions on opening the accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia which should be taken by March 2020 at the latest in order to live up to the EU’s commitments.”

Paris last month put forward its ideas for a tougher accession process in a so-called “non-paper” for discussion. France’s approach would likely push the start of any membership talks for North Macedonia and Albania much further down the road.

France had vetoed the enlargement of North Macedonia and Albania, arguing that the whole process needs to be revamped before any more countries can be put on the path to EU membership, and that accession can take place only once the EU as a whole has been reformed and made more effective.