Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met with French President Emmanuel Macron on the margins of the European Union's summit meeting in Brussels on Thursday evening for talks on bilateral relations and EU's enlargement policy.
The Plenovic-Macron talks focused also on the prospects of two aspirants - North Macedonia and Albania - of being admitted to the European Union.
This past October, France, together with the Netherlands and Denmark, vetoed the opening of the accession talks with Skopje and Tirana, insisting on the overhaul of the negotiating process. Therefore the European Council failed to reach an unanimous decision on opening the accession negotiations with those two candidates, despite the fact that the European Commission gave a green-light for the start of their membership talks.
Croatia, which is chairing the European Union in the first half of 2020, is going to organise a summit meeting between the EU and six southeastern European aspirants in Zagreb in early May.
To this end, Croatia would like to reach a consensus among the EU member-states so that North Macedonia and Albania could continue their European journey, which would be a positive signal to the other candidates in their neighbourhood.
Plenkovic and Macron also agreed to resume their talks in early January in Paris.
During the first day of the two-day summit meeting in Brussels, the Croatia's premier held several bilateral meetings and some of his interlocutors were the president of the European People's Party (EPP), Donald Tusk, and the European Council President, Charles Macron.
On Friday, Plenkovic is expected to meet the Executive Vice President of the European Commission for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, as well as the new Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Finland is the current chair of the EU.
On Thursday evening, the EC President Charles Michel announced that at the summit all the member-states except Poland agreed on carbon neutrality until 2050.
"In the light of the latest available science and of the need to step up global climate action, the European Council endorses the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. One Member State, at this stage, cannot commit to implement this objective as far as it is concerned, and the European Council will come back to this in June 2020," reads one of the conclusions of the European Council.
Also, the participants in the summit meeting agreed on extending by six more months economic sanctions imposed on Russia. EU sanctions targeting Russia's finance, energy and defence industries will stay in place until mid-2020. The decision comes after the leaders of Russia and Ukraine met in Paris to seek a solution to Ukraine conflict.