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Premier receives inter-parliamentary delegation from Balkan states


Premier Chen Chien-jen on Thursday welcomed an inter-parliamentary delegation comprising members of the Kosovo-Taiwan parliamentary friendship group and cross-party parliamentarians from North Macedonia and Romania. The premier said the visit—the first ever inter-parliamentary, cross-party delegation from the Balkans—is rich in historical significance, and he trusts that members of the delegation have gained a deeper appreciation of the various aspects of Taiwan's development, including regional issues. The premier hopes members of the delegation will continue to support the deepening of ties with Taiwan across various fields.

Taiwan is the world's 21st-largest economy and a global leader in technology. When the world faced technology supply chain shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan showed it was willing to cooperate with likeminded nations to establish resilient supply chains. Taiwan is also the fourth-largest donor nation to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and helps fund projects such as the Private Sector Youth Initiative program in the Western Balkans, which promotes youth internships within private businesses. Taiwan's government has additionally established the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) Investment Fund and CEE Credit Fund. The two funds together hold US$1.2 billion in capital and provide enhanced assistance to Taiwanese companies to operate in Central and Eastern European markets. It is hoped that this in turn will also help Taiwanese businesses to tap into the Balkans region, the premier said.

Avdullah Hoti, member of parliament and former prime minister of Kosovo, represented the delegation and said in his remarks that one of the main purposes of the delegation was to exchange experiences on issues related to parliamentary openness and accountability. He said he was glad to see the extremely high level of democracy being developed in Taiwan and that the delegation has a lot to learn from Taiwan's example. He hopes this visit will enable both sides to work together, exchange experiences and deepen cooperation.

Former Prime Minister Hoti expressed gratitude to Taiwan for supporting Kosovo for the last 20 years and more. Regarding national security issues, he also commended Taiwan on its strong position to work together with democracies around the world to maintain the status quo. Although Kosovo is a small country, it is clear to us that Taiwan has friends all over the world, former Prime Minister Hoti said. He also noted that Kosovo has just applied for EU membership, and is thus obliged to follow EU foreign policy when it comes to Taiwan.

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