Guide to SKOPJE

A Turkish and a Macedonian guide people through the mazes of the EU


Out of it, but very much in it

The ‘art’ of being a Member State is not to blindly implement and apply EU law, but to do it well.



Two people from countries that have difficult relations to the European Union met abroad, became friends, mastered the EU law and now offer their legal advices to everybody else. Alara Yazicioglu and Ljupcho Grozdanovski are the founders of Infinitum Legal, a young company that provides legal advice on EU law. But due to their acacemic background, they continue to do academic work within their company.

The pre-history of your company had 3 stages: friendship, working together and starting a business. Have you always preferred running your own businesses over joining larger organizations?

Alara: I have always preferred running my own business. Even if joining a larger organization at the beginning of your career is a must; in terms of networking, learning and gaining experience; I think in the long run it has negative effects, such as restraining your creativity and reducing significantly your freedom. I am truly passionate about tax law and sports law, there are a lot of exciting ideas that I would like to follow. For this reason, being creative and having the freedom to choose what I will do next is really important to me.  So I always had the idea of setting up my own business. What was new for me was the website idea, which I never thought of before.

Ljupcho: Alara is the ‘master mind’ behind the Infinitum Legal concept. I always saw myself in academia and never thought I had an entrepreneurial bone in my body. As chance had it, we collaborated on a project together, during which I was very surprised by Alara’s proposal to collaborate with her in the long run. I was of course very honored and agreed to get on board. We both knew it was going to take a lot of work, but since we are friends, it’s also a lot of fun. Joining a larger organization was never excluded, but what we value most about our business is the fact that it’s creative and ever-changing. Larger organizations tend to be a bit more predictable in this sense.

In this regard, how do you think the other people of your generation feel about this dilemma? Do we live in a time of higher conformity or of taking chances?

Alara&Ljupcho: In order to be able to take chances, young people should have an opportunity to do so. In our opinion, business owners should give young people a chance to prove their creative skills and knowledge. Formating them too much is a waste of good minds and energy. Unfortunately, this tendency seems to be very rare.  Moreover, setting up a business at a young age is not easy. Even if people can come up with a brilliant idea, they also should have enough financial means to create their business and to put it on track. All that takes a tremendous effort. However, it can be observed that nowadays young people decide to set up their own businesses more frequently. There are many very successfull businesses established by young people in the last decade. Therefore, we can conclude that we live in a time of higher conformity, with more and more people deciding to take their chances.


The Dictionary ad infinitum is a very interesting part of your work. It is a way for you to continue your academic work in your private company. So the quest for knowledge never ends?

Alara&Ljupcho: First of all, we think that academic work constitutes the core of legal advice. A solid knowledge of your expertise area is the most important tool you can have in our line of business. In our opinion, this is our main strength.

Ljupcho: The Dictionary ad Infinitum is Alara’s idea which I found brilliant. Yes, the quest for knowledge never ends, but also the sharing of knowledge, which is the main purpose of the dictionary.

Alara: The Dictionary ad infinitum was inspired by the summarizing charts that I have been doing for students when I was a teaching assistant. I found it was one of the most complete, yet simple ways of explaining complicated matters. By the end of my teaching assistant job, I had illustrative charts, refined over the years, about all main aspects of international tax law. First I wanted to compile them for my own use but then I realized it could be a great asset for numbers of academicians, students, lawyers and legal advisors. So, I came up with the idea of writing a comprehensive dictionary, including the most important informations about a given term along with the illustrative charts. The main purpose is to hand to our clients a global overview of the subject, which is a significantly important tool in all kinds of legal work.

We called it the Dictionary ad infinitum as it is a never ending dictionary. This is the main advantage of publishing it on a website. The Dictionary is constantly updated with new terms, recent modifications, recent case law. In our area, substantial modifications are very frequent and publications become out-of-date very quickly. Dictionary ad infinitum will never be out-of-date, as it is constantly reviewed. It also takes into account the needs of the clients. Our subscribers can ask for the definition of a term if non-existant in the Dictionary and also request more information on an existing term. Simply put, our Dictionary goes ad infinitum.


One can’t help but notice that your company is founded by a Turkish and a Macedonian, coming from the two countries that face the biggest difficulties about joining the European Union. How do you feel about that?

Alara&Ljupcho: There are two parts to your question, the fact that we, as a Turkish and a Macedonian, decided to collaborate on the one hand, and the difficulties our respective countries face in their efforts to join the EU. With regards to the first aspect, the main reasons for our business are not our nationalities but our areas of expertise. We discovered that we work well together, and that EU law, tax law and sports law have many common points. In this sense, the purpose of our endeavor is to put into practice the skills that we acquired over the past ten years in Universities in France and Switzerland.

As far as the second aspect of your question goes, joining the EU of both Turkey and Macedonia is mostly a matter of politics. However, considering EU law’s influence on both Turkish and Macedonian domestic law, we are very enthousiastic about contributing to the correct implementation of EU law provisions in our countries via research projects for example. We had the chance of working on the tax law implementation of a country that has recently adhered to the EU. While we were analyzing the national laws and their compatibility with the related European Directives and case law, we realized that implementation of EU law provisions constitutes a real challenge for those countries. We believe that we can face those types challenges.

skopje teatar galija balkon3

In addition, are you optimistic about the European future about both Turkey and Macedonia?

Ljupcho: As an EU lawyer, I am optimistic but not irrealistic. The reasons why Macedonia and Turkey have not yet joined the EU are different. Hopefully, with time, obstacles will be removed through diplomatic means. Until this happens, we will try to contribute, through our business and research activities, to the ‘raising of awareness’ on the criteria that an EU Member State must satisfy. These are legal and political criteria. The ‘art’ of being a Member State is not to blindly implement and apply EU law, but to do it well. I believe we can be useful on this point. As far as Macedonia is concerned, I do think that joining the EU is the only viable option.

Alara: I agree with Ljupcho. However, I think that for Turkey, joining the EU has never been the only viable option. In my opinion, the fact that Turkey is still not a EU Member is also a great loss for the EU.

You provide, among other things, legal advices about EU laws. Are most of your clients from outside the EU or there are many from within as well?

Alara&Ljupcho: Some of our clients are EU-based. Others have solid relations with the EU. The example here is Switzerland which is, in some aspects, a de facto EU Member State by virtue of the bilateral agreements. Turkey is another such example, as it is bound to the EU and its Member States by an association agreement concluded in 1963. However, it is important to also mention that as we are providing legal consultancy on international tax law and on sports law, we also have clients that are not related to the EU.

Our diversified client profile allows us to continue joining our respective skills in EU law, international tax law and sports law when giving legal advice.

Do you think that, apart from the clients, the European Union in general has benefit from your company and others alike?

Alara&Ljupcho: The economic operators within and outside the EU can most certainly benefit from a company such as Infinitum Legal Services, because of two specificities we believe we have. Firstly, we are experts in areas that are constantly evolving and it is always useful to have a lawyer nearby. The scope of our activities is broad enough that we can work with individuals, companies as well as with Universities and Research Centres. Secondly, our nationalities are advantagous in the sense that we can provide legal expertise when it is necessary ‘to bridge’ domestic law and EU law and international tax law.

Last but not least, as we are academicians, we are constantly writing contributions in our respective areas as well as in areas combining our expertise. We believe that these types of contributions constitute an important asset for the general development of law.


What about the Balkan countries pending to join the EU? How much do you think they need legal advice of this kind?

Alara&Ljupcho: The need for legal advice for the Balkan candidates for accession is great. Experience, as well as the ECJ case-law, have shown that countries like Romania and Bulgaria, that have recently joined the EU, are sometimes not quite familiarized with the scope of their duties, such as directive implementation for example. Moreover, national judges seem to be ignorant of EU law and, most importantly, of the ECJ case law. In addition to the enhancing, in a general way, the ‘EU law culture’ in the candidate States, it is important to follow how the EU law acquis is being taken over in specific areas of domestic law. As already mentioned, we recently had the opportunity to work for such a country. This experience confirmed, one more time, this point of view.

What do you think about the European Union of today in general? On one hand, there are the people who say that it’s pushed forward to full integration too fast, to becoming the United States of Europe, threatening to consume national cultures on its way, and this causes a certain amount of euro-skepticism. But on the other, there are those who say that the EU is supposed to develop in such way and become the USE on day and nobody should feel threatened by that. Do you have an opinion on this?

Ljupcho: My opinion is that the EU is not a Federal State and is not prepared to be one right now. The possibility is not excluded in the future ; the EU is indeed, in some aspects, close to a federal system. However, as a whole, it cannot be argued that the EU is currently the equivalent of a United States of Europe, or that the present political aspiration is such. Euro-skepticism is a belief and should be accepted as valid. However, it has to be realistic. Over the recent years, I’ve heard horror scenarios about the EU dissintegrating. It’s a suggestion stemming more from ignorance about EU and EU law than from strong probabilities that it is possible, or even desirable, that the EU cease to exist.

Goce Trpkovski

Гоце Трпковски