France and Austria threaten “North Macedonia” name deal

European Union

Macron Kurz

The “North Macedonia” name agreement between Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and FYROM’s PM Zoran Zaev, has sparked intense debates, not only in Greece and FYROM, but also in other countries of the European Union.

Though the parliament in FYROM ratified on Wednesday the deal signed in the Prespes Lake region, the path towards accession remains rocky ahead of a European Council meeting next week (June 28-29), as several countries are opposed to further enlargement.

According to Kathimerini, French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron is reportedly resisting an enlargement package the European Council will be called to ratify, despite efforts by the European Commission to disconnect the candidacies of Albania and FYROM.

The country is joined by the Netherlands and Denmark in expressing reservations, but a possible shift in France’s position would be crucial on the issue.

Before the European Council meeting, the issue will be discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council on June 25-26 in brussels.

Austria has also threatened to sabotage the agreement on the new name between Athens and Skopje if the EU does not end accession talks with Turkey. According to The Telegraph, this move is seen as yet another sign of the deep division of views in the Union, which is already divided by migrant issues. Austria’s President Sebastian Kurz has said he will not approve the "North Macedonia" name deal unless the European Union ends membership talks with Turkey.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.