Kosovo: General Information

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. 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. On 17 February 2008, Kosovo has declared its independence which was recognised by USA, EU and other countries. Since then, the Republic of Kosovo is an independent, sovereign and democratic country.

Kosovo is a Parliamentary Republic. The official name of the country is "Republic of Kosovo" (in Albanian: Republika e Kosovės).

The mandate of the EU Mission in Kosovo, which officialy started on 16 February 2008, is to strengthen Kosovar institutions, legal authorities and agencies for law enforcement.

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. It very quickly restored peace and order in Kosovo and is now working with the Kosovo Government and continuing to provide security.

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.

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. The texts of Kosovar Legislation exist in English, Albanian and Serbian.

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.


Area: 10,887 sq km

Capital: Prishtina

Official languages: Albanian, Serbian

Main language: Albanian

Political system: Parliamentary Republic

Net population: 2.5 million (2008 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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