European Union ministers failed on Tuesday to reach a consensus on whether to open membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia, amid apparent stiff opposition to the move from France, news service The Associated Press reported.
“It was not a moment of glory for Europe,” Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn told reporters in Luxembourg after taking part in a meeting of European affairs ministers.
Apologizing to the citizens of the two Balkan hopefuls, Hahn said that “the overwhelming majority” of EU member countries supported the European Commission’s recommendation to start talks with Albania and North Macedonia.
While Hahn did not name countries that oppose the move, Finlandʼs Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen, who was chairing the talks because her country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, noted that there was “one member state particularly against,” AP noted.
French President Emmanuel Macron has previously insisted that the 28-nation EU should itself be reformed before it allows more countries to join. The issue is likely to be aired again, along with the latest Brexit position with the U.K., at a two-day summit in Brussels starting today.