France to propose “special partnership” for the WB instead of full membership

Emmanuel Macron; Foto: Bulgarian EU Presidency / Flickr

BRUSSELS – France has launched informal diplomatic consultations to offer a special partnership instead of full membership to the Western Balkans, Nezavisne report.

According to this proposal, Western Balkan countries would be offered financial assistance, special arrangements for the access to European markets and other benefits in exchange for a “silent abandonment” of a full membership.

Nezavisne report that France is under pressure of its European partners to give up on its hard opposition to the beginning of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, while the problems of the accession process are to be addressed during the opening of accession.

Elections in North Macedonia are allegedly scheduled for April exactly because of this reason – political leaders decided to wait for a potential decision in March.

Nezavisne remind that Germany offered a similar partnership to Turkey instead of membership ten years ago.

Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev already said that this idea was unacceptable to his country.

“We will not accept another debate, for example a strategic partnership, instead of membership. There is no alternative for our country other than full EU membership”, said Zaev in an interview for Alsat M, adding that the idea of the president of France is unacceptable.