rofessor Gjirgji Filipov is one of the numerous candidates that the ruling party SDSM is expected to select for the presidential elections. In this interview for IBNA, Filipov says that he has a clear vision and program for the future of the country. He says that he will be committed to uphold tolerance, co-existence and progress of the country. Filipov is doctor of technological sciences, while in March 2013, Prof. Dr. Filipov was elected to be a Member of the “European Academy of Sciences and Arts” with headquarters in Salzburg, Republic of Austria. He has also served as ambassador in Germany and Austria.
Interviewed by Naser Pajaziti
You are running in the competition announced by the SDSM for a President. What was the motive?
The decision to run for President of the Republic of North Macedonia was brought in after due and proper consultation with my closest associates, family members, and I must admit, that the initiative derived from my numerous friends, acquaintances, colleagues from Macedonia and abroad, people that know me, that believe in my capacities, knowledge and experience, and are convinced that I can fulfill this responsible task for the benefit of the citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia: Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Roma, Vlachs, Bosniaks, and the rest, regardless of their gender and religious beliefs.
What is your program and do you consider yourself to be a consensual candidate?
The only criterion to be a consensual candidate is to combine diversity and turn it into progress. The consensual candidate should act according to the principle that we are one society in which live different people, with different cultures and beliefs sharing the same goals for a healthy social environment.
All citizens want to live in peace, safety and security, and with satisfied basic human needs, in a healthy environment, dignified for all humans. With a healthy and clean air and water, with a good health system, conscious of the challenges offered by digitalization, high-quality education, protected traditional and cultural values, and inspiring new ones in a democratic, stable, predictable legal system. We all want to revive the villages; to recover and fertilize the empty fields with agricultural products as it was 40 – 50 years ago; we want the railway tracks to function again, to establish good commercial and infrastructural connections in the region of South-Eastern Europe so that this would help the solid economic, cultural, political and social connections between the citizens of Republic of North Macedonia and other countries. We want good relations with our neighbors as a base for basic stability in the country and in the region.
In order to be able to accomplish the above, the President should set a personal example, demonstrating and calling for a common respect and trust and collaboration among all citizens of the country. There is a way how to come to a state of common respect and trust between us, to stabilization and normalization of all the segments of the Macedonian society, with which we will constitute a climate for a real European cohabitation in the country in every aspect.
Apart of the people that are territorially connected to the Republic of North Macedonia, we know that we have a large diaspora. The people of the diaspora can do a lot for the development of the country, if Macedonia would enable realistic pre-conditions for their activation.
One could say that the Presidential function has limited executive power. However, I am well aware of the spiritual, political and social power held by the President of State, if he / she acts focused and rightful in a direction of a consolidation and revitalization of all societal structures that are executing the functions, according to the rules of law and possibilities, which are on disposal in reality, and were not used to present.
Being a career diplomat, how do you see the solution that ended the name dispute with Greece?
Considering the complexity and longevity of the issue, the steps forward are going with an unstoppable pace. Both countries, Greece and Macedonia are showing diplomatic maturity that must continue. We are observing real progress in diverse understandings with our Southern neighbor. Finally we achieved a solution acceptable for both sides, whereas the geographical adjective North is added to the name Macedonia.
After the ratification of the NATO Membership Protocol, when do you think that the process of full membership in the Alliance will be finalized, and what would your role be if you were elected as a President?
After closing the name dispute with Greece, there are no rocks on the road to full Membership to NATO. The ratification of the Agreement for a NATO Membership depends on the internal procedures in each NATO Member State. For the time being, three out of 29 NATO Member States have ratified the Agreement for a NATO Membership of North Macedonia. Expectations are that by the end of the year 2019 all Member States would ratify the Agreement. If I am to be a President of North Macedonia, and therewith the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces in the country, I will strengthen the role of North Macedonia being a pillar of stability and security in the Western Balkan Region by establishing and maintaining strong partnerships with the Alliance, especially with the neighboring countries.