Thank God for France’s Sense of European Realism

French President Emmanuel Macron’s restrictive stance on EU membership for the Western Balkans injects a much-needed dose of realism into EU affairs.

French President Emmanuel Macron has been taking a lot of heat for his refusal to continue the business-as-usual approach to EU expansion. Some accused him of slamming the door to the EU aspirations of Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia).

In mid-November of 2019, the French government had presented a “non-paper” which laid out a seven-stage conditional process to EU membership that notably was also reversible. Even entering into negotiations with the EU no longer implies a positive conclusion.

In early February, the European Commission tried to meet the French government more than half way. It acknowledged that, from now on, greater focus would be put on ensuring “fundamental reforms” to the rule of law, fighting corruption, the economy, and properly functioning democratic institutions, stressing that “negotiations on the fundamentals will be opened first and closed last.”

Kohl’s and Mitterrand’s wishful thinking

In his defense, Monsieur Macron can rightfully point to a number of key points. None of them is more important than the lesson that France has learned from the euro’s launch for future European endeavors: Wishful thinking does not a solid common future make.

Unlike Messrs. Kohl and Mitterrand assumed at the time of the euro’s inception, sweeping important political decisions (such as the institution of a common fiscal policy) deliberately under the rug does not lead to any magic resolution of the underlying conflicts later on.

From Macron’s perspective, there is a clear lesson in that. To the maximum extent possible, he does not want it to be repeated in other policy areas. After all, as one can see to this very day, the underlying tension inside the eurozone only keeps festering, making the ultimate resolution that much more painful or elusive.

Συνέχεια ανάγνωσης εδώ


Σχετικά Άρθρα