Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, has expressed her support for opening accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia. French President Emmanuel Macron, however, has been a vocal opponent of that line of action, arguing that internal reforms should be prioritised over enlargement. What do you feel is the appropriate course of action for the European Union?
Internal reforms should be prioritised over enlargements. The case can be made that, thus far, enlargement has been prioritised over internal reforms. This has been a grave mistake, and the price paid for this strategy has been significant.
Hans Blommestein, Vivid Economics
It would be wiser for the EU to focus on internal reforms rather than to promote accession talks now with Albania and North Macedonia. Given the structural rigidities in many EU economies and the rise of populism in the region, efforts are best directed towards making EU economies more dynamic.
George Hoguet, Chesham Investments
Albania and North Macedonia are undoubtedly part of Europe and therefore they should find their place in the European Union. However, membership of the EU should no longer carry an obligation to join the single currency, as it has in the past.
Robert Skidelsky, University of Warwick
The EU should open accession talk with Albania and North Macedonia. It is about credibility, which the EU badly needs in the coming turbulent times.
Marek Belka, former prime minister of Poland
My considered view is for opening talks with Albania and North Macedonia in their bids for EU membership. We need to enhance the credibility of the EU enlargement policy, which appears to have run out of steam. Hence opening talks on accession negotiations would be an ideal opportunity for revisiting this policy and restoring credibility.
Hemraz Jankee, formerly Bank of Mauritius
This was taken from OMFIF’s first quarter 2020 edition of The Bulletin, focusing on the future of the European project. Click here to read the full version.