Bilateral relations Switzerland–Kosovo

Switzerland and Kosovo maintain close and multifaceted bilateral relations. Switzerland is one of Kosovo’s main partner countries and donors.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

During the 1998–99 conflict, 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 is involved in peacekeeping operations, thus contributing to long-term stability in Kosovo and throughout the Western Balkans region.

Switzerland recognised Kosovo as an independent state after it declared independence from Serbia on 27 February 2008 and subsequently established diplomatic and consular relations with the new Republic of Kosovo.  Switzerland and Kosovo have signed a number of bilateral agreements covering technical and financial cooperation, civil aviation, free movement of persons and goods, trade, investment protection and social security.

Treaty database

Cooperation in education, research and innovation

Researchers and artists from Kosovo may apply to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.

Kosovo is a partner country under the SCOPES programme (Scientific co-operation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland).

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists (SERI)

Swiss National Science Foundation:Scientific Cooperation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland

Peacebuilding and human security

Switzerland seeks to promote political dialogue, the integration of minorities and reconciliation efforts. It also works to reinforce democratic institutions and is engaged in humanitarian mine clearance work.

Switzerland also provides experts for international missions in Kosovo. Through Swisscoy, the Swiss Armed Forces have been involved in NATO's international Kosovo Force peace support operation since 1999. This military engagement is based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

Swiss Armed Forces: peacebuilding engagements abroad, Swisscoy

Kosovo, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Switzerland began providing humanitarian aid in Kosovo in 1998. Since then, this aid has been replaced by longer-term development cooperation programmes. The 2017–20 cooperation strategy for the SDC, SECO and the Directorate of Political Affairs focuses on the following areas:

  • Democratic governance and human security

  • Economy and employment

  • Water and climate change

  • Health

  • Migration 

This commitment makes Switzerland one of the most important donor countries in Kosovo.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Swiss cooperation office in Kosovo

Cultural exchanges

Switzerland promotes exchanges and dialogue between artists in both countries. The Swiss embassy organises and supports small-scale cultural projects and is actively involved in Francophonie-related events and the German Language Days.

Swiss nationals in Kosovo

According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 478 Swiss citizens living in Kosovo at the end of 2019.

History of bilateral relations

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. On 27 February 2008, Switzerland recognised the new Republic of Kosovo and established diplomatic and consular relations.

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.

Kosovo, Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)