Polish President Andrzej Duda scolded the European Union on Friday for delaying accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia, days after the EU's current eastern European members lost out in a carve-up of its top jobs. "The European Union shouldn't treat countries this way when they are carrying out difficult reforms aimed at future integration," Duda told a Western Balkans summit in Poznan.
He said these countries had fulfilled many requirements to facilitate talks. EU governments failed in June to make good on a promise to open membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, which face further delays to their hopes of joining the bloc due to resistance from northern Europe.
The 28 EU states have agreed to take "a clear and substantive decision" on the two hopefuls no later than October. Friday's summit in Poland brings together leaders from a handful of EU member countries including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and many Western Balkan countries seeking to eventually join the bloc.
French President Emmanuel Macron said this week he opposes further EU enlargement at a time when the bloc is already struggling to find agreement among its existing members. Supporters of EU eastward expansion argue it will better buttress the region against the growing influence of Russia and China.
EU members Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic came away empty-handed in the bloc's reassignment of top jobs this week after they spent their political capital in blocking Dutch Socialist Frans Timmermans from becoming president of the European Commission. As a vice president of the outgoing Commission, Timmermans has annoyed the nationalist governments in Poland and Hungary for spearheading EU criticism of their record on the rule of law and democratic freedoms.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)