People on a pavement in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, in the background you can see graffiti.

Kosovo On the road to becoming a fully-functioning state

Kosovo is Europe’s youngest state. On 17 February 2008 the Assembly of Kosovo in Pristina declared the independence of the former province of Kosovo from the Republic of Serbia. Since the declaration of independence, parliamentary democracy has become more and more solidly established in the Republic of Kosovo. That said, Kosovo still requires support in its efforts to build up the rule of law and fully functioning government structures.

Straight to
Young people at at traffic light in Pristina, Kosovo
Monument in Pristina unveiled on the occasion of Kosovo's independence in 2008.

The European Union is supporting Kosovo’s reform efforts through a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the country. The Agreement stipulates that Kosovo is to emulate EU standards in its governance.

In a report published in 2010, the International Court of Justice in The Hague came to the conclusion that Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate international law. Since then, 117 countries, including Germany, have recognised Kosovo as an independent state. However, some countries such as Serbia, Russia and China, as well as five EU member states, have not so far recognised Kosovo’s independence. As a result, the political situation remains unstable, and Kosovo is being held back in its economic development. Further integration into the European Union is also being hampered.

Since 2012, Kosovo and Serbia have been engaged in an EU-facilitated political dialogue aimed at normalising their relations. Since April 2020, Miroslav Lajcak has been acting as the first EU Special Envoy in order to facilitate this dialogue. The aim of the dialogue is to pave the way for a legally binding agreement between the two countries – an agreement that is in accordance with international law and aids regional stability.

German development cooperation with Kosovo

Cover: Strategy for development cooperation with transformation partners in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus

Strategy for development cooperation with transformation partners in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus

File type PDF | Date of status 12/2023 | File size 719 KB, Pages 9 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Development cooperation with Kosovo began immediately after the end of NATO's military intervention in 1999. At that time, work focused on emergency aid, especially the supply of water and electricity for the population in general. For some years now, cooperation has focused on sustainable development, in other words projects with a lasting impact. The overarching goals of these projects are improving people's living conditions and helping Kosovo to move closer to EU standards and structures.

At government negotiations in December 2020, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) made a new commitment of 72.1 million euros to Kosovo, of which 59.9 million euros were earmarked for financial cooperation and 12.2 million euros for technical cooperation. In addition to that, Kosovo is also benefiting from numerous regional projects that are being implemented across national borders in the Western Balkans. In 2020 and 2021, Kosovo also received 14.07 million in additional funds to help it cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cooperation between Germany and Kosovo focuses on the following core areas:

  • Training and sustainable growth for decent jobs
    Areas of intervention: technical and vocational education and training; private sector and financial sector development
  • Climate and energy, just transition
    Areas of intervention: renewable energy and energy efficiency; sustainable urban development

The BMZ also supports activities in the field of good governance. For instance, the Government of Kosovo receives special support for its efforts to completely overhaul the country's legal system and put in place the preconditions required for EU integration.

In 2015, the German centre for jobs, migration and reintegration (DIMAK) was set up in Kosovo. It is a one-stop shop for returnees and anyone hoping to find work opportunities in Kosovo or in Germany.

Exterior view of the German centre for jobs, migration and reintegration ( DIMAK ) on the opening day in Pristina, 28.05.2015

Core area “Training and sustainable growth for decent jobs” Improving the climate for investment Internal link

Sustainable structural changes – such as the privatisation of the economy, entrepreneurial initiative and the development of medium-sized enterprises – will be of key importance for Kosovo's further development.

The country's economic recovery is driven primarily by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). In order to help these businesses become more competitive – and, thus, create more jobs – Germany is offering them sector-specific advice.

View of a coal-fired power plant near Pristina, Kosovo

Core area “Climate and energy, just transition” Modernising the energy supply Internal link

Kosovo is one of the countries with the greatest deposits of lignite coal in Europe. To date, 97 per cent of the country's electricity is being generated by two outdated lignite-fired power plants.

That is why Germany’s involvement in Kosovo originally began with an extensive programme to repair and modernise the energy supply system.

Current situation

National library in Pristina, Kosovo
School children in Kosovo
Young people at at traffic light in Pristina, Kosovo

As at: 11/03/2022