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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Kosovo
Switzerland being one of Kosovo’s most important partners and donor countries, bilateral relations are naturally close.
During the crisis of 1998–99 Switzerland provided humanitarian aid and programmes for the return and reintegration of refugees and displaced persons. This was followed by reconstruction and development projects.
In the context of peacebuilding efforts Switzerland is above all concerned with the integration of minorities, the fate of missing persons and the promotion of political dialogue. The aim of Switzerland’s commitment is to promote political stabilisation, economic and social development, the strengthening of local authorities and civil society as well as regional integration. Switzerland also participates in peacekeeping operations.
Switzerland and Kosovo have concluded agreements in the areas of technical and financial cooperation, humanitarian aid, civil aviation, road transport of both passengers and goods, trade, and the protection of investments.
Trade between Switzerland and Kosovo is modest. In 2011 the Confederation exported merchandise worth some 24 million CHF, notably chemical and pharmaceutical products, machinery and vehicles. In the same period Switzerland imported 3.4 million CHF worth of goods from Kosovo, notably plastic products, metals, agricultural products and furniture. Swiss investments in Kosovo involve mainly small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Foreign scholars and artists from Kosovo can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education and Research (SER).
The FDFA is committed to the promotion of political dialogue, confidence building, support for ethnic minorities and a dealing with the past (DwP) approach. Ten Swiss experts have been seconded to the EU Rule of Law Mission (EUlex) and the International Civilian Office (ICO).
Since 1999 the Swiss Armed Forces have given support to the international peacekeeping mission in Kosovo (KFOR) through SWISSCOY (Swiss Company), numbering up to 235 army volunteers, which in the framework of its mandate carries out multinational as well as national duties.
Switzerland has been active through development cooperation in Kosovo since 1998. Humanitarian activities and the repatriation assistance programme were extended at the beginning of 2000 to include reconstruction, securing of livelihoods, cultural promotion and development. The SDC and SECO cooperation programme for 2009-12 focused on:
- Economy and employment
- Rule of law and democracy
- Public infrastructure and services
This commitment makes Switzerland one of Kosovo’s most important donor countries.
At the end of 2011 there were 374 Swiss registered as living in Kosovo. Most of these are people with dual Swiss and Kosovo nationality. Members of the Swisscoy contingent are not included in this number.
Switzerland began recruiting workers in Kosovo in 1960. In the 1990s the turmoil of war produced tens of thousands of refugees. Since then Switzerland has made intensive efforts to assist in the country’s reconstruction and development. Since 1999 Kosovo has been under the UN Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK). On 17.2.2008 Kosovo declared independence. Switzerland recognised the new Republic on 27.2.2008, initiating diplomatic as well as consular relations.