admin1 – November 2, 2006 – 12:43pm

Milososki -  interview MDB
Interview with Antonio Milososki, Minister of Foreign Affairs with Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin

"Considering all the parameters, including those that do not depend on us and our results, I believe that being given a date for start of membership negotiations in 2007 will truly be a success," Antonio Milososki, Minister of Foreign Affairs, says in his interview for the first issue of the new Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin, reported verbatim by

The Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin is a publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promoting transparency of work.  

MDB: Minister Milososki, you have been holding this office for slightly over a month. What are your first impressions of the Ministry at Dame Gruev St. No. 6?

Milososki: I am getting the complete picture as I go.  Diplomacy implies an established system functional at all times and I am glad to conclude that this is the case with the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As a Minister, I will certainly set the major guidelines in keeping with the Government's foreign policy. I also have new thoughts, initiatives and ideas and I would like that they prompt a positive reaction of motivation and creativity. In order to be successful, diplomacy needs stability coupled with new energy. I want to be the mainstay of that new energy and I have the impression that the experienced diplomats will work in the same spirit.

What are the foreign policy priorities in the period to come?

The strategic priorities of the foreign policy are well known - membership of the EU and NATO. In addition to the political, there is also a social consensus on these priorities. In the forthcoming period, numerous activities aiming at rapprochement with the European and Euro-Atlantic structures lie ahead of us. The efforts are to be doubled and the reforms are to be considerably accelerated. The Government is prepared for such an endeavor and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is certainly an extremely important segment in attaining the country's strategic interests. The goal is known, and so is the direction. We cannot make the journey shorter even if we want to, but what we can do is go faster and properly fulfill our responsibilities.

You said you would consider getting a date for start of membership negotiations with the EU in 2007 a success.

A precondition for success in life is adjusting your plans to your capabilities and taking into account the factors that objectively you cannot influence. One should trust their own abilities and be an optimist, but it is also very important to keep their feet on the ground. I do not like to dwell on dates and neither do the officials in Brussels, I believe. No particular conclusions should be drawn from this position. There is no need to cool the champagne before it is time and to create an atmosphere of continuous waiting for a response from Brussels. This is not the best approach and besides being a potential source of frustration, in fact it is not taking us any closer to receiving a date for starting accession talks. Our approach is different: the date should be a result of what we achieve at home. We have Europe's support, which has been confirmed during Prime Minister Gruevski's first visit to the capital of the Union and I have no doubts that our achievements will be properly and timely valorized. We have a saying here: still waters run deep. We are going to talk less and work more and the results will come. The sooner the better. However, I stress again, this mostly depends on our work. Considering all the parameters, including those that do not depend on us and our results, I believe that being given a date for start of membership negotiations in 2007 will truly be a success.

What is our position in respect of NATO?

Based on how the process has usually developed in the past, it is evident that integration into NATO precedes admission to the EU. Macedonia too is going along that road. The Government has set the pace for good and timely fulfillment of the remaining standards, owing to which we would qualify for membership at the next enlargement Summit of the Alliance. We expect this to happen in 2008. The talks that we recently had with Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer are encouraging. I trust that at the Riga Summit the evident progress of the Republic of Macedonia will be acknowledged and that the Riga Summit will be our last stop on the way to the Alliance. In the meantime, our activities continue at an accelerated pace. The fact that Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has personally taken over the management of the NATO Coordination Body best reaffirms our resolve to meet all the remaining requirements fully and consistently. Of course, the intensive activities and cooperation under the Adriatic Charter for Partnership continue. This cooperation has thus far proven to be instrumental in the process of integration of Macedonia, Albania and Croatia into NATO and in promoting regional security.

The activities you mentioned are only part of the regional cooperation. How do you see Macedonia's regional policy in the period to come?

Good relations with the neighbors and improved regional cooperation are an integral part of the European idea. Everything starts here. The Republic of Macedonia will do all in its power to intensify the regional cooperation and strengthen the spirit of mutual understanding and trust in the Region. Not only is intensive regional cooperation part of the agenda on the way of our integration into the European and Euro-Atlantic structures, but it is also an imperative for achieving faster economic growth and creating a stable and economically prosperous Region. It is in the best interest of all countries in the Region, while Macedonia will be particularly active in this regard. I am glad that as early as the first month of my term of office, I took part in two meetings in Zagreb and Struga dedicated to the strengthening of regional cooperation in the context of the European and Euro-Atlantic integration. This fact too demonstrates that regional cooperation ranks highly on Macedonia's foreign policy agenda.