France has said no to further European Union enlargement. It has put on hold a decision to give the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia the status of a candidate for membership this year.
Paris said it was not taking Skopje hostage in the negotiations over the long-term EU budget. It said merely that the bloc needed to finance enlargement already under way first.
After that would come a wider debate on the EU’s future institutions, the French said, to reassure the public before launching any new wave of expansion. Britain said there was no link between a budget accord and the candidacy.