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Kosovo: General Information

Kosovo is at present under temporary international (UN) administration, according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244.

At the heart of the Balkans, Kosova was part of the Roman Empire, then Byzantium, and part of the Ottoman Empire in the early 15th Century. Kosova became part of Serbia before the First World War, and Yugoslavia just after. Under German and Albanian influence during the Second World War, it's place in Yugoslavia was reaffirmed after the conflict. Kosovo became a province in the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), and enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy from 1974-90 within SFRY and Serbia. The Yugoslav Republic began to break up during the early 1990's with Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia breaking away from the state. An upsurge in violence in Kosovo in 1998 drew the attention of the international community, leading to an eleven-week conflict in the spring of 1999. On 10th June 1999 the region was placed under United Nations administration, with the European Union and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe providing key parts of the interim government. KFOR, the NATO-led peace implementation force, provides military security.

THE UN INTERIM ADMINISTRATION MISSION
Security Council Resolution 1244 of the 10th of June 1999 authorised the United Nations to establish the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), headed by a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG).

In particular, UNMIK's responsibilities are to:

1. Perform basic civilian administrative functions;

2. Promote the establishment of substantial autonomy and self-government in Kosovo;

3. Facilitate the political process to determine Kosovo's future status.



UNMIK has four components or "Pillars":

Pillar I
Police and Justice

Pillar II
Civil Administration

Pillar III
Democratisation and Institution Building, managed by the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Pillar IV
Reconstruction and Economic Development, funded by the European Union (EU).

KFOR
Security in Kosovo is guaranteed by KFOR, a military force which consists of troops contributed by 30 nations, under NATO command. KFOR entered Kosovo on 12 June 1999, only two days after the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1244. It very quickly restored peace and order in Kosovo and is working with UNMIK and the Kosovo Government on further improving security and ensuring the implementation of the agreements which ended the conflict.

PROVISIONAL INSTITUTIONS OF SELF-GOVERNMENT
The Constitutional Framework of May 2001 establishes the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) and defines the functions and responsibilities of the Kosovo Assembly, the President, the Government and the Judiciary.

The framework also institutes a division of responsibilities between "transferred powers", which fall to the PISG, and "reserved powers", which remain with the SRSG. Without prejudice to this division of responsibilities, the SRSG retains ultimate authority in Kosovo, as stipulated in the UN SC Resolution 1244. In economic matters, responsibility has largely been transferred. Powers reserved to the SRSG include international representation, international trade, monetary policy, final authority over the Kosovo consolidated budget, customs and the privatisation of socially owned enterprises (SOEs) as well as the management oversight of publicly owned enterprises (POEs - these are the public utilities).


DEMOGRAPHICS
Kosovo has an estimated population of 2 million, of which approximately 90% is Albanian, 8% Serb, and 2% others. The age and gender breakdown is as follows:


Source: Ministry of Trade and Industry of Kosovo

The Albanian majority and the non-Serbian minorities are mostly Moslems. Approximately 10% of Kosovar Albanians are Catholic. The Serbian Minority is largely Christian Orthodox.

LANGUAGES
The official languages in Kosovo are Albanian and Serbian. The majority of the population speaks Albanian. Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian are spoken by minorities. A very large number of people also speak English, German and other European languages. English is the official language of UNMIK. The texts of legislation created in Kosovo since the beginning of the UNMIK administration exist in English, Albanian and Serbian.

ECONOMY
Economic activity had been centred on industry, predominantly electric power, mining and metallurgy, construction materials and agro-processing. Agriculture was also important, being responsible for about a third of GDP in 1995.

About 60 percent of the pre-conflict employment was created by agricultural activities (including forestry and agro-business). Unemployment was already high, due to long-term impacts of regional crisis. This unemployment rate was disproportionately high among ethnic Albanians.

Kosovo has an area of 10,887 square kilometres (one third the size of Belgium). It is a geographical basin, situated at an altitude of about 500 meters, surrounded by mountains, and divided by a central north/south ridge into two sub-regions of roughly equal size and population.

MAIN FACTS

Area: 10,887 sq km

Capital: Prishtina

Main language: Albanian

Political system: Under UN administration. Most of the competences already transfered to Kosovar democratic intitutions.

Net population: 2.2 million (mid-1998 estimate)

Currency: Euro

Enterprise Approx. 42,000 registered in the Private Sector. Approximately 300-350 Socially Owned Enterprises (already in the privatization process) and 60 Public/Infrastructure Enterprises

Natural Resources: Lead and Zinc, Copper, Silver, Gold, Brown Coal, Bauxite, Lignite, Nickel

Main agricultural products: wheat, corn and grapes.


ECIKS / Ministry of Trade and Industry of Kosovo



 
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Background information for foreign investors

Kosovo: General Information
Kosovo: Key economic indicators
Why do business in Kosovo?
Legal Framework in Kosovo
KTA and Privatisation in Kosovo



Latest News and Analysis

Austrian Investors Day in Kosovo
Kosovo: two fairs opening in Prishtina
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Kosovo: energy prices increase only for large consumers
Kosovo: 7 arrested in economic-crime investigation



Current publications

Company Foundation and Taxes in Kosovo
Potential of economic sectors and enterprises in Kosovo
Program of Recovery and Production in Ferronikeli (in English)
Guide for starting new companies / enterprises in Kosovo (Updated version)

 


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