Switzerland and Kosovo enjoy close bilateral relations, characterised by strong ties between people. Switzerland is one of Kosovo’s main partner countries and donors
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Kosovo
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
During the crisis of 1998–99 Switzerland provided humanitarian aid and programmes for the return and reintegration of refugees and displaced persons. These activities were subsequently replaced by reconstruction and development programmes. Switzerland participates in peacekeeping operations and promotes the long-term stability of the country via a peace promotion programme.
Switzerland recognised the new republic of Kosovo and established diplomatic and consular relations with it on 27 February 2008. Since then, Switzerland and Kosovo have signed a number of bilateral agreements, in particular in the areas of technical and financial cooperation, civil aviation, road transport for passengers and freight, trade and investment protection.
Trade between Switzerland and Kosovo is modest. In 2014 the Confederation exported merchandise worth some CHF 22 million. In the same period Switzerland imported CHF 8 million worth of goods from Kosovo. Swiss investments in Kosovo involve mainly small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Foreign scholars and artists from Kosovo can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
Kosovo is also a partner country in the SCOPES research programme (Scientific cooperation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland).
Peacebuilding and human security
Switzerland actively promotes political dialogue, reconciliation, the strengthening of democratic institutions, and humanitarian demining. In addition, Switzerland makes specialists available to the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Since October 1999 the Swiss Armed Forces have been participating in the international peace support mission Kosovo Force (KFOR) through SWISSCOY (Swiss Company). SWISSCOY is composed of 235 voluntary soldiers.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Switzerland has been active through development cooperation in Kosovo since 1998. The aid provided in the aftermath of the conflict has now been replaced by development programmes. The SDC’s and SECO’s cooperation programme 2013–2016 focuses on the following:
- Economic development and employment
- Rule of law and democracy
- Public infrastructure
This commitment makes Switzerland one of Kosovo’s most important donor countries.
Swiss Nationals in Kosovo
At the end of 2013 there were 409 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.
History of bilateral relations
Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008. Switzerland recognised the new republic and established diplomatic and consular relations with it on 27 February 2008. Switzerland began to take in workers from Kosovo in 1960. Tens of thousands of refugees arrived in the 1990s, fleeing the conflict. Since then Switzerland has been actively involved in the reconstruction and development of the country.