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President Tsai meets parliamentary delegation from Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Romania
President Tsai meets parliamentary delegation from Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Romania

On the morning of March 13, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation comprising members of the Kosovo-Taiwan parliamentary friendship group and cross-party parliamentarians from North Macedonia and Romania. In remarks, President Tsai said that the delegation's visit represents a starting point from which to deepen exchanges between Taiwan and the Balkans. The president stated that Taiwan will continue to work with the global alliance of democracies to contribute further to regional prosperity and global democratic resilience. 

A transcript of President Tsai's remarks follows:

Welcome to the Presidential Office. I am delighted to see former Prime Minister [and current Member of Parliament Avdullah] Hoti again. This is the first high-level, cross-party parliamentary delegation to visit Taiwan from Kosovo. I also want to welcome members of parliament from North Macedonia and Romania. Together, your group is the first cross-party parliamentary delegation from multiple nations in the Balkan region. I want to thank you all for making this significant trip. 

During your stay, you will visit the Legislative Yuan and various other institutions. Tomorrow, you will participate in the 2023 Parliamentary Openness and Monitoring Forum. We very much look forward to your sharing of your experiences of democracy in the Balkan region. And I hope you will witness Taiwan's efforts in open parliament and government. 

The international situation has gone through dramatic changes in recent years. The continued expansion of authoritarianism, disinformation, and cognitive warfare is threatening the entire world. Taiwan stands on the frontline in safeguarding democracy. We are willing and able to share our experiences with the world. We also hope to strengthen cooperation in all domains with members of the global democratic alliance. Together, we can protect supply chains, defend regional peace and stability, and safeguard our free and democratic way of life.

Taiwan and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have a deeply rooted cooperative relationship. Through this platform, Taiwan seeks to identify more opportunities to forge stronger and even closer partnerships with Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Romania, particularly in such fields as green energy, ICT [information and communications technology], trade and investment, and women's entrepreneurship.

In closing, I once again extend a very warm welcome to you all. Each of you is a good friend of Taiwan, and your visit symbolizes a starting point for deepening exchanges between Taiwan and the Balkan region. Taiwan will continue to work with the global democratic alliance, together making contributions to regional prosperity and global democratic resilience. I wish you a fruitful and pleasant visit. 

Kosovan Member of Parliament Dr. Avdullah Hoti then delivered remarks, and, on behalf of his delegation, thanked President Tsai and Taiwan's government agencies for their warm welcome as well as the National Democratic Institute for organizing and supporting this visit. Dr. Hoti said that his delegation looks forward to meeting colleagues from various institutions and discussing issues related to parliamentary accountability and transparency in the coming days.

Dr. Hoti stated that the purpose of this visit is to discuss and share experiences on parliamentary transparency and accountability, as the delegation believes that these topics are key to strengthening democracy and citizen representation. He added that deepening cooperation between our countries is also an important aspect of their visit.

Noting that Taiwan has democratic friends all over the world, some vocal and some less so, Dr. Hoti said that Kosovo, in particular, understands Taiwan's situation, as Kosovo has been going through a similar situation for quite some time. He asserted that as long as Taiwan stands united and holds fast to its principles, and especially if it maintains its alliances with the world's democracies, it will prevail. He also stated that the presence of his delegation here shows that they stand with Taiwan and support Taiwan, and that we should find a way to increase our cooperation in various fields.

Dr. Hoti mentioned that this is his second visit to Taiwan and expressed that it is great to witness the strength of Taiwan's democracy. He said that Taiwan should expand its alliances with other democracies around the world, adding that as long as Taiwan maintains such friendships, positive results will follow. He also expressed his belief that no one should try to interfere with how we live our lives and how we organize our societies, and stated that we have managed to send this very message to the world.

Dr. Hoti said that he understands the difficulties involved with comprehensively increasing our cooperation, but that we have to find ways to do so, especially on the economic front. 

He said that Taiwan should consider Kosovo as a friend in the Balkans, and that Kosovo is ready to work with Taiwan, support Taiwan, and to serve as a hub for Taiwan in this region. 

The delegation was led by former Prime Minister of Kosovo and current Member of Parliament Dr. Avdullah Hoti.

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