What are the goals of the AECR and the main directions of its activity?
Our Alliance is a centre-right political family of parties from both within and beyond the EU, aiming to promote free market economy, free trade, low taxation, strong national sovereignty of states, respect to national traditions, conservative social values. We want to reform the EU, which is gradually becoming too centralized, too bureaucratic. We want to change it into a more flexible structure.
Could you please inform us the process of accessing the United Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (UAPFP) to the Alliance? In what way will both sides benefit from the cooperation?
UAPFP applied for the membership in the AECR and we proceeded in a standard way: UAPFP presented itself at the AECR Council and if in 6 months no current member openly objected against its membership, it was adopted as a full member by majority Council decision. We see UAPFP fully compatible with AECR principles and programme as stated in so called Reykjavik declaration and we are pleased and honored by its membership.
What are AECR’s next plans on the cooperation with Azerbaijan?
As AECR president I will visit Azerbaijan very soon. It is a very important country from economic and political point of view. We are interested to see Azerbaijan stable and prosperous. We are happy to help better mutual understanding and better cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan. Some prejudices and misinformation still remain, and we can help to remove them.
Does the AECR plan to implement any projects with Azerbaijan or the Azerbaijani member party?
Time will tell what concrete actions might be taken. Azerbaijan is a good example of a predominantly Muslim, but secular society. That could be a lesson learned from Azerbaijan experience. Also how Azerbaijan was dealing with post-Soviet legacy, is worth of attention. I myself am coming from the post-communist world (former Czechoslovakia), therefore I know how uneasy it is to get rid of all patterns of a former communist regime. Also cultural richness, geostrategic position or energy policy deserves to be better explored. On the AECR side, we are ready to co-fund some common projects with UAPFP party.
As is known, Azerbaijan suffers from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. And Armenia is also a member of the Alliance. What’s the Alliance’s position on the conflict?
This is a very delicate bilateral problem and has to be solved on a bilateral level. We do not interfere into bilateral problems. No simple solution can be brought from the outside. We can only hope that AECR membership will help both sides to better understand each other.
How can UAPFP-AECR cooperation contribute to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement?
Again, AECR policy is not to interfere into such sensitive bilateral problems between its members. We can help them to communicate, to consult, to develop relations. But any supranational interference would not be of any benefit. The same counts for some other states´ indirect engagements into this particular conflict.