1-[THREAD] on French politics and #WesternBalkans enlargement. Our NEW research breaking the myths! opensocietyfoundations.org/publications/i… More on @BalkanInsight balkaninsight.com/2021/02/01/sup… or an in depth analysis with @Sebgricourt on @j_jaures tomorrow. @osfEUpolicy @d_part Image
2-Until a few years ago, French enlargement policies were decided by the executive and a “close-knit community” of people. French public opinion mattered little. #NatashaWunsch @BiEPAG wrote about it aei.pitt.edu/66050/1/pub_58… ⬇️ Image
3-With the 2005 referendum on the European Constitution, the French government (to lure the right to vote "yes") proposed amending the French constitution in order to subject any future enlargement to a popular vote. "any future enlargement"= 🇹🇷 context ovipot.hypotheses.org/321 Image
4-The EU Constitution, we all know failed, but the article 88-5 got adopted. In 2008, constitutional amendments proposed by 🇫🇷 government under @NicolasSarkozy foresaw the abolition of this article. Finally, it was not abolished but 'softened'. How?
5-Additional paragraphs were added: one allowing a 3/5 qualified majority in the French parliament to ratify a Treaty of Accession with any candidate country. Thus creating a possibility to circumvent the referendum on every new accession through parliamentary procedure.
6-In 2006 in the @EurobarometerEU ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffic… a majority of the French (from 46% to 55% depending on candidate country, were pro enlargement) In 2019 ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffic… 32% were for enlargement 58% were against. Our yes/no survey question confirms this trend
7-Influenced by these polls, @EmmanuelMacron poured cold water on fast track EU membership hopes of the #WesternBalkans in 2018. @LTregoures wrote eloquently about it for the @j_jaures here: jean-jaures.org/nos-production…
8-In 2019, France vetoed the opening of the accession negotiations with 🇲🇰&🇦🇱. I wrote about it here for @EURACTIV @GeorgiGotev: euractiv.com/section/enlarg… France finally agreed to the opening of accession talks - in the midst of the pandemic, when no one was watching
9-🇫🇷 veto in 2019 paved the way for 🇧🇬 December 2020 veto on the opening of the first negotiating chapters with 🇲🇰, and by consequence 🇦🇱 about the🇧🇬 veto read @ZoranNechev @IDSCS_Skopje europeanwesternbalkans.com/2020/11/26/bul… and @gbuldioski @vtcherneva @ecfr ecfr.eu/article/how-to…
10-France's enlargement policies followed Macron's "virage à droite" internally. After annihilating the center-left in 2017, he started looking to the right. The emblematic article in Valeurs-Actuelles @Valeurs from 2019 euractiv.com/wp-content/upl… is illustrative of this turn...
11-With the change of rhetoric, a departure of some left voters was compensated by appealing to those from the right. To understand this shift confront 2 great reportages on Macron's campaign in 2017 by Aubenas lemonde.fr/election-presi… & @sderoyer in 2020 lemonde.fr/politique/arti…
12-In a November 2019 article @HeleneFouquet & @IanWishart wrote about Macron's "Algorithm for Taking Control of Europe” bloombergquint.com/business/macro… according to @business Macron's EU/enlargement policies are made, not in the Élysée or Quai d'Orsay but by his LREM campaign team.
13-For an illustration of how #WB6 enlargement became a victim of 🇫🇷 internal politics see @franceinter TV debate in the campaign for the 2019 European Parliament elections, where candidates competed in anti-enlargement zeal.
14- Almost everyone at our Lyon focus groups (even those against enlargement), shrugged the 2019 debate off with bewilderment & contemptuous laughter. They prefer enjoying what their beautiful city has to offer to watching cheap politicking on TV. ⬇️ ImageImageImageImage
15-Via a large sample survey and focus groups we conducted in 2020, our study finds that the question of Western Balkan accession is not greatly important for most of the French population. Only 22% of the population are against enlargement & this issue matters to them⬇️ Image
16-The difference in attitudes towards Turkey’s membership is striking. Asked about the potential EU accession of 🇹🇷, 30% of French respondents said they were greatly concerned about its impact on their lives. Only 8% said the same for WB countries joining the EU⬇️ Image
17-Given its low importance to French voters, continued EU accession negotiation with #WesternBalkan are unlikely to have an impact on 🇫🇷 elections. Fears that voters might punish the French govt over the issue seem completely unfounded.
18-Quoting the Clinton 1992 campaign phrase "It's the economy, stupid", we named our report "It's the EU not WB enlargement...". Public attitudes reflect general views of the EU more than stereotypes or concerns specific to the WB countries. What does this mean?
19-Well, this means that virtually no part of 🇫🇷 electorate is pro-EU but strongly against WB EU membership. Only 22% of the French, people who would not vote for the mainstream parties, could channel their disaffection with WB EU accession into a vote against the government.
20-Across all focus groups, participants, including some hardline opponents of enlargement, recognised that the EU membership of the Western Balkans would bring geopolitical advantages to France, EU and WB. Read what they said⬇️ Image
21-Adding to Macron's @TheEconomist interview, where he said: EU needs to start thinking of itself as a geopolitical power @DimitarBechev and myself have argued that there will be no “geopolitical Europe” without Western Balkans in it europesfutures.eu/vault/geopolit… @erstefoundation
22-Combined with cutting off the 'dead weight' of Erdogan's dictatorship from the enlargement process, 🇫🇷 government would be able to convince the majority of its population that EU membership of #WB6 (and 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿or 🇫🇴
🇳🇴🇨🇭 should they wish to join) is in the interest of a strong EU.
23-Additional measures to make sure that the French and other skeptical EU member states populations are not additionally frustrated by another round of enlargement, are proposed by @adicerimagic & @ZoranNechev & myself in the video below,
24-To sum up. It makes no political sense for 🇫🇷 to block candidate countries on their EU membership path. Opening the 1st negotiating chapters with 🇲🇰and🇦🇱 would not hurt President Macron's chances in 2022.
25-If there is Twitter in the afterlife then my 🇫🇷🇷🇸 late father who dreamt that his Belgrade and Paris will finally be in a strong & united Europe, would be able to read our research. I dedicate this research to him. On my dad's EU dream read @tom_nuttall economist.com/europe/2017/07… Image

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More from @srdjancvijic

29 Sep
A 🧵about a confusing signals on 🇪🇺 enlargement to the #WesternBalkans 👇
1⃣ During her ongoing #WB6 tour @vonderleyen is sending clear messages of hope, to 🇲🇰"You will be part of the EU, It is not a question of if, but when", to 🇦🇱"as future EU member, I also want Albania to fully take part in the Conference on the future of Europe" ImageImage
2⃣Yet a @Reuters piece, quoting unnamed 4 🇪🇺 diplomats, wrote "fearing a political backlash in member states, [EU] can no longer agree to give a guarantee of future membership to the six Balkan countries" reuters.com/world/europe/e…
Read 14 tweets
23 Nov 20
1-Who is @ABlinken Biden’s nominee for the Secretary of State? A very good summary of @guardian. theguardian.com/us-news/2020/n… and priceless piece on his life and background washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/styl… Here mainly a Balkan angle. My thread
2-Antony Blinken is a seasoned diplomat involved with the US foreign policy ever since the Clinton years. He is usually described as a “pragmatic realist” and, like Biden, a “liberal internationalist”
3-From 1999 to 2001, he was a Senior Director for European and Canadian Affairs. From 2002 he went to the Senate to work as the staff director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and ever since then he is Biden’s main man on foreign and security policy
Read 21 tweets
20 Nov 20
1-The election of the new 46th Serbian Patriarch (Full title: Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Serbian Patriarch), who are the candidates, the election process and what's at stake. My thread
2-During the period of interregnum, the church will be lead by a caretaker, most probably Hrizostom, the Metropolitan Bishop of Dabrobosna, Archbishop of Sarajevo and Exarch of all Dalmatia. A Bishop unlikely to become the Patriarch
3-How is the new patriarch elected? The Assembly of Bishops of the SPC votes. It elects 3 candidates who win most votes. Their names are written on 3 pieces of paper and placed in the Bible. The oldest of the archimandrites (superior abbot) prays over it the entire night
Read 23 tweets

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