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
Switzerland recognised Kosovo's independence from Serbia on 27 February 2008 and 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). While Switzerland is now the sixth largest export destination for Kosovar goods, it has become the top export destination for Kosovar services in the areas of information and communication technology and business process outsourcing (BPO). Kosovo has become a nearshoring destination for Swiss companies in recent years.
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.
Peacebuilding and human rights
Switzerland seeks to promote political dialogue, the integration of minorities and efforts to deal with the past. It also works to reinforce democratic institutions and is engaged in humanitarian mine clearance work.
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 supports Kosovo's reform process, which should help deepen the country's regional and European integration, with the aim of supporting it in strengthening democracy, developing its economy and increasing its prosperity.
The SDC, PHRD, SEM and SECO have a Cooperation Strategy 2022–25 that focuses on the following areas:
- Democratic governance and human security
- Sustainable economic development
- Climate change, water and health
Switzerland promotes exchange and dialogue between artists of both countries and is the largest bilateral donor supporting Kosovo's cultural scene. 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 614 Swiss citizens living in Kosovo at the end of 2021.
History of bilateral relations
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. Switzerland recognised the new republic on 27 February 2008 and established diplomatic and consular relations with Kosovo.
From 1960, Switzerland recruited workers from the former Autonomous Province of Kosovo of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Following this, the chaos of the conflicts of the 1990s saw tens of thousands of people fleeing and arriving in Switzerland as refugees. 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.