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 conflict of 1998–99, Switzerland provided humanitarian aid and set up programmes for the return and reintegration of refugees and displaced persons. These activities were subsequently replaced by reconstruction and development programmes. Switzerland takes part in peacekeeping operations in the country and works to ensure its long-term stability by promoting peace.
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 2016, the Confederation’s exports came to some CHF 30 million. In the same period, it imported CHF 12 million worth of goods and services from Kosovo. Swiss investments in Kosovo involve mainly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Cooperation in education and training
Researchers and artists from Kosovo can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Kosovo is also a partner country in the SCOPES research programme (Scientific co-operation 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 a number of experts available for secondment to international missions in Kosovo. Since 1999, the Swiss Armed Forces have been involved in the international peacekeeping operation known as Kosovo Force (KFOR), where SWISSCOY is deployed. This military engagement is based on United Nations Security Council resolution 1244.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Switzerland began providing humanitarian aid in Kosovo in 1998. This has since been replaced by long-term development cooperation programmes. The SDC and SECO cooperation strategy for 2017-2020 focuses on the following areas:
- Democratic governance and human security
- Economy and employment
- Water and climate change
This commitment makes Switzerland one of the most important donor countries in Kosovo.
Swiss Nationals in Kosovo
According to the Statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 591 Swiss nationals were living in Kosovo at the end of July 2017. 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.
In 1960, Switzerland began recruiting workers from what was then the Autonomous Province of Kosovo, part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Tens of thousands of refugees arrived in the 1990s, fleeing the war in the region. Since then, Switzerland has been actively involved in the reconstruction and development of Kosovo.