European Western Balkans

Council may discuss new methodology on 25 February, definitively in March

European Council meeting; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – General Affairs Council of the European Union, composed of the Ministers for the European Affairs of the EU Member States, may discuss the Commission’s proposal of the new enlargement methodology on 25 February, Council told European Western Balkans.

In any case, both the General Affairs Council and the European Council are expected to discuss enlargement at their respective meetings in March, Council confirmed for our portal.

European Commission presented its proposal for a renewed enlargement methodology on 5 February, and it will have to be approved by the Member States to apply to the candidate countries.

Montenegro and Serbia will even then have to give their consent for the new methodology to apply to them.

President of France Emmanuel Macron, whose refusal to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania in October 2019 triggered the reform of the accession process, stated recently that process must be clear and reversible, and that the EU should be able “to walk away if it does not work”.

“When we talk in March, we will see what the European Commission says, what progress have the countries made, and if there is confidence it will work, we should be able to start the negotiations”, said Macron at the Munich Security Conference.

Commission’s proposal includes the possibility to suspend the negotiations in certain areas or overall if the results are not satisfactory, clustering of negotiating chapters in six areas which would be opened as a whole, more involvement of EU Member States and more emphasis on fundamental reforms – rule of law, democratic institutions and a functioning economy.

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