The US president signed a new defense deal with Australia and the UK last week, which saw an order for French submarines canceled by Canberra. The move infuriated French politicians on all sides of the political spectrum, attacking President Biden for leaving France behind.

To make matters worse, Gabriel Escobar, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and Southern Europe, told RFE / RL that he wanted the EU to make more progress on plans for the Western Balkan states to become members of the EU.

The American official had already served in the region under various political and diplomatic hats between 1998 and 2001.

He said: “Going back 20 years later and seeing that there hasn’t been a lot of progress on this front was a little disappointing.

“We would like to see faster integration.

Mr Escobar said that the European Union and the countries of the Western Balkans – which include North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina – have challenges to overcome in making integration is a reality, but he added that he hoped that the US engagement “can get both sides back on track.

But the call infuriated Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois, who called on French President Emmanuel Macron to leave the bloc and abandon NATO in a bid to regain military and political sovereignty.

He blasted: “The EU to counterbalance the United States – umpteenth episode: the United States urges the EU to accelerate enlargement to include the countries of the Balkans.

“It’s rich after the humiliation of the submarines.

“Get out of the EU and NATO!

“Frexit! “

READ MORE: Franco-American submarine warfare sparks new appeals to the European army in Berlin

EU rules require consensus from its 27 members on many important issues, including expansion.

The countries of the Western Balkans are at different stages of integration into the European Union.

Montenegro and Serbia are the most advanced, having opened accession negotiations and chapters.

Albania and North Macedonia await the official opening of accession negotiations, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are potential candidate countries.

At the beginning of June, the Commission announced that an envelope of more than 14 billion euros (12 billion pounds sterling) for the period of the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 had been agreed between the European Parliament and the European Council to finance the Turkey and the Western Balkans.

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The enticing financial package will serve as an instrument to help potential new EU members prepare their way to membership.

The agreement will now be translated into legal texts, which will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council.

Neighborhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi said: “This long-awaited agreement on our ambitious financial assistance is a positive, welcome and strong signal for the Western Balkans and Turkey.

“The agreed package is a solid investment in the future of the enlargement region and the EU, supporting the implementation of key political, institutional, social and economic reforms to comply with EU standards and gradually align with its rules and policies.

“It will provide funding for the Western Balkans Economic and Investment Plan, a key tool to support the economic recovery of this priority region.

“Through investments in key sectors such as connectivity, infrastructure, environment and climate, as well as energy and digital, it will boost convergence with the EU and bring tangible benefits to citizens.”

The package will provide support to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey with an overall budget of EUR 14.162 billion in current prices for 2021 -2027, from January 1, 2021 retroactively.

In Turkey’s case, the funds will also be used to prevent refugees from entering the EU.

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