We cannot give up on countries that have made effort and tell them “you had an issue with Greece, and now with Bulgaria too.” Skopje should be given a signal and start negotiations with the EU, said former French Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau.
Loiseau, who is part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s party and whose country is taking over the rotating presidency of the EU Council in January 2022, told BNR, Deutsche Welle reports, that it is obvious there should be dialogue, as well as a solution.
“No one is saying that tomorrow, in 2022, North Macedonia will join the EU. We’re saying that negotiations should start, during which everything will be put on the table. And they won’t move forward unless all topics related to human rights and fundamental values move forward. But, these people need to be given a signal, because they are being wooed by China, Russia and Turkey. What is it we want – that they finally turn their back on us? That’s not in anyone’s interest,” said Loiseau.
Asked if there was a French initiative to overcome the bilateral dispute between Bulgaria and North Macedonia, Loiseau didn’t give a direct answer.
“I hope the dispute will be resolved, because I would like negotiations with North Macedonia to start sooner. It has made great efforts to meet European expectations. I hope the same for Albania. We know there’s a long way to go, we will look for results, because there’s a new enlargement methodology. But we cannot give up on those countries that have made effort, and tell them: ‘Look, there’s another issue. You had an issue with Greece, and now with Bulgaria too. ‘ It will create animosity towards the European Union in the heart of Europe, because geographically, culturally and historically the Balkans are right there,” said Loiseau.