De Montchalin: All Western Balkan countries might have to implement the new accession metodology

Meeting of the General Affairs Council 19 November 2019; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – The French non-paper proposal and other proposals on the possible revisions of the accession process for the Western Balkan countries – these were some of the topics discussed at the meeting of the General Affairs Council on Tuesday, November 19.

After the meeting, Ministers of France, the Netherlands and Austria told reporters that the new European Commission is expected to discuss the French non-paper on the new methodology and the idea of reorganizing the accession process.

The French Minister for Europe Amélie de Montchalin told reporters that all ministers agreed that the enlargement process will be rearranged in the future. She also stressed that the Western Balkan countries have unquestionable prospect of joining the EU.

“The EU is asking the countries of the region to proceed with the implementation reforms at the same time”, said De Montchalin, adding that the reforms in the region and the revision of the process must go on simultaniously.

“By next spring it will be clear and in what to the extent that North Macedonia and Albania have implemented the required reforms”, said the French Minister.

When asked if the new methodology also applies to Serbia and Montenegro that are already negotiating membership on the basis of a negotiated framework, De Montchalin said she “believes that these countries might be interested if the new European Commission proposes this new methodology” .

The EU ministars also take stock of the work on the next Multiannual Financial Framework and the state of play on enlargement and the stabilization and association process, following the meeting of the European Council in October this year, when Albania and North Macedonia were not given the green light to start the accession negotiations with the EU.

The General Affairs Council also discussed the progress in the work on the multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027, focusing on enhancing respect for the rule of law in the EU and the evaluation of the Council’s annual rule of law dialogue.

At the General Affairs Council meeting on 19 November 2019, discussions did not lead to reaching a consensus on conclusions on the evaluation of the annual rule of law dialogue. However, the Presidency concluded that the text was supported or not objected to by 26 delegations.