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 2015 the Confederation exported merchandise worth some CHF 25 million. In the same period Switzerland imported CHF 11 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 provides a number of experts for international missions in Kosovo. Through Swisscoy the Swiss Armed Forces have been participating in the international Kosovo Force (KFOR) peace support operation since 1999. This military engagement is based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Switzerland began providing humanitarian aid in Kosovo in 1998. Since then, this aid was been replaced by longer-term programmes of development cooperation. The SDC and SECO cooperation strategy for 2013-2016 focuses on the following areas:
- Democratic governance and decentralisation
- Economy and employment
- Water and sanitation
This commitment makes Switzerland one of the most important donor countries in Kosovo.
Swiss Nationals in Kosovo
At the end of June 2016 there were 464 Swiss registered as living in Kosovo. 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. From 1960, Switzerland recruited workers from the former Autonomous Province of Kosovo of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. 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 Kosovo.