EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW | Jan Lipavski: Bilateral issues cannot be resolved in Brussels
The only way bilateral issues can be resolved is dialogue, not Brussels. It is good that North Macedonia is a member of NATO, the strongest military organization in the world. So, it was a logical choice for North Macedonia to become a member state of the European Union, says Minister Lipavski in an interview with "Sloboden Pechat".
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Jan Lipavski, was on an official visit to the Republic of North Macedonia yesterday. The focus of the visit, in addition to the meetings with the head of state, were the talks with the domestic non-governmental sector about the European integration process of our country and the consistent Czech support for that plan, our chairmanship of the OSCE in light of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, current events in the region, as well as bilateral relations and cooperation. Lipavski became Minister of Foreign Affairs on December 17, 2021. He was born in Prague, where he grew up and graduated from high school. Before entering politics, he built his career in the private sector, specifically in banking and information technologies. He was the first European leader to announce the beginning of North Macedonia's negotiations with the EU.
SP: Mr. Lipavsky, the Czech Republic started the EU presidency with some kind of pre-negotiations for intergovernmental conferences and from then on there was very little progress while relations with Bulgaria deteriorated. Now that the French proposal has turned the bilateral dispute with Bulgaria into a condition for the EU, what can member states and the EU do to de-escalate tensions?
– You must understand that to become a member of the European Union, it takes decades and many things must be done, many things must be completed. Bilateral issues cannot be resolved in Brussels. But the only way they can be solved is through dialogue. It is a positive thing that North Macedonia is a member of NATO, it is the strongest military organization in the world. So, it was a logical choice for North Macedonia to become a member state of the European Union, because with that there will be positive developments in its economy, investments, rule of law. But in order to achieve that, it is necessary to do many things, especially in the area of harmonizing the local law with the law of the European Union.
SP: What can the EU and its members do to ensure that our European path is secured, without malign influence from Sofia that could lead to new vetoes and blockades?
- The way to the solution is constant dialogue, it is necessary to work on the dialogue all the time. It is necessary to fulfill the agreed steps, and then it will be very easy for the EU member states to say: "Please think carefully before you take such a step." There really is a lot of homework to be done in this process.
You will be able to read the entire interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Jan Lipavski, in tomorrow's print edition of "Sloboden Pechat" and in the program "Utrinski Pechat".