Switzerland and Kosovo maintain close and multifaceted bilateral relations. Switzerland is one of Kosovo’s main partner countries and donors.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Kosovo
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.
The volume of trade between Switzerland and Kosovo is relatively modest. Swiss investment in Kosovo mainly involves small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
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).
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.
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 Since then, this aid has been replaced by longer-term development cooperation programmes.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
This commitment makes Switzerland one of the most important donor countries in Kosovo.
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.