Reuters: France wants to Make proposal for new accession Talks methodology

France wants to make a proposal for a new methodology in the EU accession talks next week in Luxembourg, which could see the decision to open negotiations for Albania and Macedonia delayed a third time, Reuters has found out from diplomatic sources in Brussels, it was reported on Thursday. Though that is not an official position for now, Paris has for a long time considered the current form of the membership negotiations process to be insufficiently successful because, among other things, a halt and backsliding in terms of reforms is noticed in countries that are already negotiating. EU Member States’ Ambassadors will meet on Friday at the latest to discuss that, but also the French proposal to delay for a third time the decision on a start of negotiations until some point in 2020. Paris is proposing for a sentence similar to the ones so far to be introduced in the conclusions with which it pledges to “revert to the issue” and will previously ask the EC to prepare a report even though the regular progress reports on countries from the region are envisaged in April 2020. Though some Member States aren’t against a revision of the negotiations process for enlargement, they think that that isn’t supposed to result in another delay. A similar stand was presented on Thursday by the EU’s Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, too. “There is always room for improvement and I am the last person that would say there isn’t, you can always talk about the methodology, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye and refuse, but it shouldn’t be held hostage,” he pointed out. France’s stand has followed the EP’s rejection of Macron’s candidate, Sylvie Goulard, which had been nominated as EU Commissioner. She didn’t manage to convince MEPs who were questioning her over the claims that she’d abused funds during her time at the EP. There were intensive speculations in Brussels on Thursday also that Macron could be much firmer against a decision on negotiations. According to those speculations, accepting decoupling of Albania and Macedonia is one of the solutions to win over France. On the other hand, Italy insisted on negotiations for both countries. Strong confrontation over the topic is expected between Rome and the Netherlands.