France spark outrage from Brussels after blocking plan to increase size of EU

Amélie de MontchalinFrance’s European Affairs Minister Amélie de Montchalin (Image: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

The bloc’s enlargement commissioner blasted Paris over the membership veto, saying it was “not a moment of glory for Europe” and apologised to the Balkan states. France’s European Affairs Minister Amélie de Montchalin said Paris would stick to its hardline position until a deep reform of EU membership rules, which range from economic policy to human rights and the rule of law. “The first thing we need to talk about is how Europe must reform the way it does enlargement and negotiations,” Mrs de Montchalin said, calling the accession process “an endless soap opera”.

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She added: “Is the process efficient? From our point of view, no.”

A French presidency official added Emmanuel Macron’s government would not agree to open talks for now.

“These countries will be part of the European Union one day… but it is too early to open the legal process towards enlargement for now,” the source said.

Last week, another French official said the two countries “are not there yet” and needed to make “additional efforts” in order to join the bloc. “We will need to reassess the situation somewhere in 2020,” he said.

Paris argues the bloc faces too many challenges, including Brexit, a bolder China, migration, climate change and security threats posed by Russia – to let in two more states from the

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