Last updated in October 2017
Bilateral relations are good and wide-ranging. Germany was one of the first countries to officially recognise the Republic of Kosovo after the country declared its independence in February 2008 and to establish diplomatic relations with it. The Government and people of Kosovo also remember with gratitude that Germany provided refuge to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Kosovo before and during the military conflicts of 1998/1999 and from 1999 onwards helped with reconstruction efforts, initially through emergency relief measures and shortly afterwards by commencing development cooperation.
The German troops (KFOR), police officers, judges, public prosecutors and civilian experts (UNMIK and, since the end of 2008, EULEX) deployed there as part of international missions have, through their professionalism and objectivity, helped further strengthen Germany’s positive image in Kosovo.
Germany is considered one of Kosovo’s privileged partners, offering the country long-term support in its efforts towards integration in Euro-Atlantic structures. Regular visits to Pristina by members of the Federal Government and the German Bundestag underline the importance that Germany attaches to Kosovo’s development – also as a factor in the stability of the region as a whole.
Economic relations and development cooperation
Germany remains Kosovo’s most important trading partner in the European Union. According to Federal Statistical Office figures, Kosovo ranked 105th among Germany’s foreign trading partners in 2016. German exports to Kosovo were worth 184.08 million euros in 2016; German imports from Kosovo totalled 15.02 million euros in 2016. Official Kosovar figures for 2016 differ in some cases substantially from these figures: they put German exports to Kosovo at 342.8 million euros and German imports from Kosovo at 13.8 million euros.
Germany is one of Kosovo’s largest bilateral donors of development cooperation. Since 1999, Germany has provided approximately 550 million euros for emergency relief measures, humanitarian aid and technical and financial cooperation projects. In 2016, new commitments totalling just under 47 million euros were made, including 30.95 million euros in financial cooperation and 16 million euros in technical cooperation.
Development cooperation focuses on the following areas:
• public administration, democratisation and civil society
• sustainable economic development and employment promotion.
In addition, a total of 2.147 million euros in funding was provided in 2016 by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) to support numerous projects promoting democracy, human and minority rights, peaceful conflict management and the rule of law.
The Goethe-Institut does not have a local office in Kosovo. In 2017 the Goethe-Institut in Skopje will start to gradually assume responsibility for Kosovo, which up until now has been served by the Goethe-Institut’s offices in Belgrade and Thessaloniki. However, a language learning centre that is partnered with the Goethe-Institut was opened in Pristina in May 2013. This has since become well established and offers a wide range of language courses. In addition, the German Embassy in Pristina handles a substantial portion of the cultural work, including scholarship and further-education programmes as well as events such as concerts and exhibitions. German culture invariably meets with a warm response in Kosovo, as evidenced by the annual Days of the German Language and other cultural events organised by the German Embassy. There are also an increasing number of popular initiatives devoted to German culture and the German language. A cultural agreement between Germany and Kosovo entered into force on 14 June 2013, placing the already lively cultural exchange between the two countries on an official footing under international law.
Given the close relations with Germany at all levels, there is a very keen interest in learning German, with demand far outstripping the courses offered. Along with English, German is the most widely spoken foreign language. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has a lector working at the University of Pristina and also awards scholarships for studying in Germany. As part of the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH), four schools receive support from Germany: two offering the German Language Certificate (DSD) of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany, and two schools supervised by the Goethe-Institut offering German as a foreign language from the first grade onwards (FIT schools). In cooperation with the German Embassy, Kosovo’s Ministry of Education is seeking to further consolidate the position of German in the curriculum. The possibilities for taking German as a second foreign language at school are to be expanded.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.