North Macedonia President Talks EU Enlargement with Macron

Stevo Pendarovski, who is attending the Paris Peace Forum, will have a meeting later on Tuesday with Emmanuel Macron, whose opposition last month at the European Council dashed North Macedonia's hopes of a start date for EU accession negotiations.

On his arrival in Paris on Monday, Pendarovski said that he considers the meeting to be very important, but advised against over-inflating expectations about the talks with the French president.

"Let us be clear about it. We are a small country and we have good arguments which we will be present [to Macron] at the meeting. However, let us not over-hype expectations because no one can talk to the French president in a 'persuasive' manner," Pendarovski said.

He added that he hopes to exchange arguments and opinions on EU enlargement with his French counterpart.

At last month's European Council in Brussels, EU leaders could not agree to grant start dates for Albania's and North Macedonia's EU accession talks, due to France's objections, dashing high hopes in Skopje and Tirana.

The development appeared to leave EU enlargement policy in a state of confusion and EU leaders only agreed to return to the issue before the EU-Western Balkans summit in Zagreb in May 2020.

While several EU leaders had reservations about opening talks with Albania, Macron stood alone at the European Council against granting North Macedonia a start date.

Macron is insisting on a review of the entire EU enlargement process before the bloc can be ready to start talks with or invite new members.

Speaking on the same issue last week, Pendarovski also said he would be eager to hear more about France's motivation for blocking the EU accession talks, adding that his country does not object to Macron's proposal...

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