Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I welcome you warmly to the celebration the 9th anniversary of the declaration of the Independence of the Republic of Kosovo.
This year we have the pleasure to hold Independence Day celebration in the new premisses of the embassy; I promise we will organize much more activities from now on in the larger space together with our Dutch friends, as well as with friends of many other nationalities.
The Independence Day is an occasion to show some of what Kosovo stands for and what we have done since independence in 2008.We have made progress. But there is still much to do.
We signed the ASA agreement with EU last year; we become members of more than 60 international and regional organizations. Let me use this opportunity to thank all of you, first of all the Government of the Netherlands who supported our access to international convention and voted for our membership in different international organization.
Last year for the first time we participated in Olympic games in Rio, Majlinda Kelmendi won first gold, last week in Judo Paris 2017, another gold from Malinda and bronze from Distria Krasniqi; our football team is playing internationally after joining FIFA and UEFA, Bersant Celina and Milot Rashica playing for Dutch teams, Albin Tahiri in Alpine World championship, Kosovo is producing the best female pop stars; singers Rita Ora, Dua Lipa and Ora Istrefi are among most famous pop singers in they international music charts; we had two big success with movies, one OSCAR nomination for the movie Shok and few days ago, the British/Kosovar short movie Home won Bafta Award. Just to name some!
The Kingdom of the Netherlands has recognizing Kosovo Independence just few weeks after declaration of 17 of February, on the March 5th. Soon after diplomatic relations were established and embassies in Prishtina and The Hague are open. We have good political and cultural relations and economic cooperation but we will continue with more activities to promote and increase the Kosovo-Netherlands exchanges between entrepreneurs and to foster economic relations. Let me give you a novelty also; some Dutch people went to live in Kosovo; one of them has a fantastic Blog and tweets daily from Kosovo ; Stefan in Kosovo. A organization from the Netherlands is often in Kosovo helping kids with cancer with the medicine; Care for Kosovo Kids provide medical support for children with cancer. They are here tonight and you can have a book with traditional recipes from Kosovo (Street Food) published by the organization to raise funds for cancer medicine.
In the Netherlands we have significant diaspora of over 8, 500 persons; they are fully integrated in the dutch society and contribute to the economic and cultural exchange. Each family that I met here has at least one child studying at university. Since my arrival, 3,5 years ago, I was privileged to be part of many graduate and PhD ceremonies of students members of our diaspora.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me introduce to you and to thank our artist, violinist Birgit Cangonja from Amsterdam/Albania and Arben Ramadani from Rotterdam/Kosovo fwho are going to performe for us tonight.
They will entertain us during this evening with some great music.
Also our sponsors, from the Netherlands, for their support to make this evening a success (MetroFresh-Valon and Migjen Bahtiri and Dubovci Brothers and from Kosovo, wine producers Stone Castel and Bodrumi i Vjeter, Prishtina Beer and Frutomani, bio juices producer from Prishtina)
And, many thanks to the entire staff of the Embassy for preparing this evening and the Defense Attaché Ajeti, non-resident in The Hague and thank you all for coming and celebrating with us the Independence Day.
I hope you will have an enjoyable evening.
Thank you very much.