ZAGREB, January 7, 2020 – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in Paris that he wished the summit meeting, set for May in Zagreb, would be successful and that changes to the methodology in the negotiation process was a precondition for opening negotiations with candidate countries.
“I share your endeavours that the summit in Zagreb in May achieves unity and that it is a success for Europe. France has proposed a new method for the enlargement process so that it is not just a bureaucratic process but a truly political path forward which can be accelerated and reversed and which contains conditions and also, concrete benefits for candidate countries,” Macron said, who together with Prime Minister Plenković issued a statement to the press ahead of a working lunch in Elysee Palace.
“I would like to underscore France’s wish for the summit in Zagreb to be a success,” Macron added.
Plenković will present Macron with the programme and main aspects of Croatia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020.
The two statesmen will discuss the negotiation framework for future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, negotiations on the new multiannual financial framework, preparations for the Conference on the Future of Europe, and the EU-Southeast Europe Summit in Zagreb in May. In that context the two officials are supposed to discuss the further enlargement of the Union.
At the EU summit last October, France, together with The Netherlands, vetoed the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.
Assuming the six-month presidency of the Council of the EU on January 1, Croatia wants to unblock that process because it considers that there is no alternative to the European prospects for southeast European countries.
“I’m glad that President Macron expressed optimism regarding the success of the Zagreb summit. That meeting is exceptionally important for us. It is in our interest for countries to be stable and to implement economic and social reforms,” Prime Minister Plenković said.
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