Fabricated von der Leyen statement portrayed as real

Photo: uroparl.europa.eu

On the 15th of April 2024, EC President, Ursula von der Leyen never stated that, most probably, EU enlargement will not happen in the next 15 years. Even in the past, she has never given such a statement. The news shared in the post, distributed as though it was published by the Deutsche Welle, is fake. Deutsche Welle has not released such news. In addition, there are no new requirements for Macedonia’s membership in the Union, while the inclusion of the Bulgarians in the Constitution is not a new condition, but an obligation undertaken by the state with the European Negotiating Framework 



We are fact-checking a post on Facebook that shares supposed news from Deutsche Welle. It alleges that the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stated that EU enlargement won’t occur in the next 15 years and that there are new conditions for North Macedonia. 

New requests from the EU, says the post sharing a photograph of an alleged Deutsch Welle news. 

Photo: screenshot of the original post with the English translation.


Truthmeter analyzed the official Facebook page of Deutsche Welle and could not find any such news. The fake appearance of Deutsche Welle’s logo as well as the font of the letters used by the Agency for news published on Facebook suggest a fake photograph. The original logo of Deutsche Welle is white, which can be seen from the following examples below, not blue as shown in the fake photograph. 

Moreover, with а Google search, news about von der Leyen stating that “EU enlargement will not happen in the next 15 years “could not be found in Deutsche Welle, nor any other medium. 

What we found, however, was her statement dated the 21st of February 2024 saying that if she were to be re-elected President of the European Commission, she would be a strong supporter of EU enlargement with the Western Balkans. 

To that end, Ursula von der Leyen is officially a candidate of the European Peoples Party (EPP) for a second term as head of the European Commission. 

At a press conference in Brussels, as reported by Civil Media, von der Leyen said that she was always a ”strong supporter of enlargement”, and that she ”had very clearly stated that the process is merit-based”. 

It is good to see how the Western Balkans, but also, for example, Ukraine and Moldova, are doing everything possible to implement the necessary reforms and to move forward towards the European Union. So, of course, in the potential next term, you will find me as a strong advocate of the enlargement to Western Balkans, said von der Leyen. 

Von der Leyen expressed her support of North Macedonia becoming an EU member state during her last visit to the country on the 30th of October 2023. Then, she added, inter alia, that it was necessary for Macedonia to implement the Constitutional amendments and include the Bulgarians therein, but one cannot claim that a new condition was imposed. Including the Bulgarians in the Preamble of the Constitution is an obligation that Macedonia took over with the European Negotiating Framework. 

 I am absolutely convinced that we will welcome North Macedonia with its unique identity and its own language. Today, we do already have 24 different languages in the European Union. North Macedonia has already achieved a great deal. I wish for you to continue the screening process is moving smoothly, and the negotiating teams are working excellently. We intend to open the negotiations for the “Fundamentals” cluster this year. And I know we can do it. Of course, I am aware of the ongoing work on amending your constitution. The first steps have been taken in your parliament – and that is good news. Now, I hope that all parties will seize this opportunity to move forward. Because there is a true momentum now, all over the European Union and those countries who want to join the European Union, for the enlargement process. I know how these processes can be challenging, of course. I am sure that you will live up to your reputation as a successful multi-ethnic society, said von der Leyen during her visit in Skopje, reported the Voice of America. 

From all of the above-noted, we can conclude that on the 15th of April 2024, the EC President, Ursula von der Leyen, did not state anywhere that EU enlargement will most probably not happen in the next 15 years. She has not stated such a thing even previously. The news shared in the post and cited as news from Deutsche Welle is fake. Deutsche Welle has not published such news.

In addition, there are no new EU membership requirements for Macedonia, while including the Bulgarians within the Constitution is not a new condition but an obligation stemming from the European Negotiating Framework. Hence, the fact-checked post is assessed as incorrect. 



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