UK to be replaced by economic power-houses of Albania & North Macedonia

Key question: Which EU do Remain MPs want to remain in?

EU Commission recommends accession talks to start – UK is paying

  

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - see below for full-size clickable version - Federica Mogherini, EU Commission Vice President, yesterday

These two countries combined have 1/100th of the GDP of the UK

In seeking to replace the massive economic and political might of the United Kingdom after Brexit, the EU took another step yesterday, recommending that accession negotiations should start with two of the poorest countries in Europe.

The two West Balkans countries, Albania and North Macedonia, had been given ‘accession status’ last year and yesterday the EU Commission recommended that negotiations could now start.

Announcing the decision, the EU’s unelected, de facto Foreign & Defence Secretary said:

"The Western Balkans are Europe and will be part of the EU's future, of a stronger, stable and united European Union.”

- High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini

Brexit Facts4EU.org Summary

New Joiners - Albania & North Macedonia accession talks to start

  • Commission recommends start of negotiations for membership of two of the poorest countries in Europe
  • The UK will continue paying for this EU enlargement under the deal negotiated by Mrs May
  • Juncker plans two more ‘acquisitions’ of other poor Balkans states by 2025
  • Brexit is ‘opportunity to bring the Western Balkan peninsular on board’
  • Total of 4 Balkans states plus Turkey will now be in accession talks

A ‘Reverse Brexit’

Yesterday’s announcement means negotiations towards full membership can soon start – like a ‘reverse Brexit’.

Albania and North Macedonia have been chosen to join the other two West Balkans countries which are already well on the way to EU membership: Serbia and Montenegro. Two additional West Balkans countries, Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina, are ‘candidate countries’, which means they are just one step behind.

EU to replace world’s 5th largest economy with two more minnows

Albania and Macedonia are of course currently sovereign, independent countries in their own right. However they are tiny compared to the economic power of the United Kingdom.

Brexit Facts4EU.org Summary

The economic power of the United Kingdom

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click for full-size version

  • Combined total GDP of the 2 new accession countries is less than 1/100th that of the UK
  • UK GDP: $2,829 billion
  • Combined GDP of EU's 2 new accession countries: $28 billion

Where are the Western Balkans?

Very broadly speaking, the Western Balkans countries are situated north of Greece and south of Croatia (newest EU member), Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. They ‘fill in a gap’ in the map of EU member states.

The Western Balkans

Significance for Brexit

Brexit has been mentioned by the EU many times in relation to these new enlargements.

“We’re having some very difficult negotiations in Europe on Brexit, and this really is an opportunity for us to bring the Western Balkan peninsular on board as the UK withdraws from the EU.”

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov with President Juncker last year

How much is all this costing?

In terms of the amounts the EU spends on a regular basis, the sums involved are not the largest we have discussed on this site. They are still significant however, and the key fact is that the UK would continue to pay out in respect of the EU’s enlargement under the deal agreed with the EU by Mrs May.

Brexit Facts4EU.org Summary

The EU pays countries to join

  • EU is spending €1.3bn (£1.15bn Pounds) on Albania and North Macedonia so that they are ready to join
  • The UK will continue paying for this EU enlargement under the deal negotiated by Mrs May
  • Total bill for EU enlargement in the 2014-2020 framework: £10.35 Billion Pounds

EU’S (ex-communist) Foreign Secretary is heavily involved

Mogherini at World Economic Forum in 2017, explaining how the EU would soon replace the UK:

“The big loser of the game that currently is being played will be the UK.”

“We always think the EU future will be the 27. Actually we are negotiating accession with several countries.”

“When we talk about the future of the EU, we have to take into consideration that countries especially in the Western Balkans will eventually become members of the European Union so we will be more than 27. The power of attraction of the EU is still extremely strong.”

- Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of EU Commission

Background to yesterday's announcement

The EU has six Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs) in force: with North Macedonia (2004), Albania (2009), Montenegro (2010) and Serbia (2013), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2015) and Kosovo (2016). Four of the countries will now be in official negotiations for EU membership: Serbia , Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia.

Serbia and Montenegro have already started negotiations. These are the two countries that President Juncker says will soon be members.

“I do think that the two countries [Serbia and Montenegro] will be members of the European Union before 2025.”

- Jean-Claude Juncker, speaking with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov late last year

In addition to the four countries above, two more countries have been promised the prospect of joining when they are ready:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Kosovo (still not recognised by many countries around the world)

Observations

The Western Balkans?

This is a very difficult region in many ways, torn apart following the break-up of Yugoslavia, and the scene of foreign policy and military disasters for the EU. Given the geographical proximity it is still felt by many that the EU’s actions (and inactions) did not constitute its finest hours.

Readers will no doubt wish the six Western Balkans countries well in their gradual development following some difficult decades. The UK of course was a significant global player in the region and still is, although we look forward to the day when the British Foreign Office is not hidebound by the foreign policies of the EU and can act with complete independence.

A great deal of UK Aid has of course been sent to the region over the years. Some British aid has been 'badged' as EU Aid, but this will change eventually, once the UK has left the EU. In due course recipients of British donations will realise just how generous the UK is.

The EU's Foreign Secretary - Anti-UK, fanatical federalist

Based on the innumerable speeches we have listened to, Ms Mogherini is no fan of the United Kingdom. She studied political science in Italy and France and did her dissertation on Islam. She spent the first eight years of her political life as a member of the Italian Communist Youth Federation.

It seems Ms Mogherini is happy to replace the UK with two more countries whose combined GDP is less than 1% of the UK’s. Good luck with that, Federica.

Significance for Brexit

The fact that the EU is having to point to the Western Balkans as an indication of how "The power of attraction of the EU is still extremely strong" (to quote Mogherini) is beyond parody. We would suggest that it demonstrates just how bad things are in the EU.

In her talk to the World Economic Forum last year, Ms Mogherini explained that soon she will have the responsibility for the EU’s future relations with the UK, saying that she ‘will have the file’ once the EU’s initial demands have been met.

[ Sources: EU Commission | World Economic Forum | IMF - Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual. ]

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, 30 May 2019

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