Kosovo 1996

In December 2014, the government was transformed. LDK chairman Isa Mustafa became new prime minister.

In February 2016, Kosovo’s parliament elected Hashim Thaçi as president. His counterpart was Rafet Rama. Thaçi received 50 of Parliament’s 120 votes in Round 1, 64 in Round 2, and Round 7 in 71. He was placed in office in April. He had a past in KLA and from several sides was charged with links to the mafia and organized crime. A report from the German intelligence agency BND from 2008 also accused him of having links with the Czech and Albanian mafia.

In the June 2017 elections, the PANA coalition lost 15 seats, but with 39 still remained the largest bloc in parliament. The VV, in turn, went up to 16 mandates until 32. After a few months of parliamentary negotiations on government formation, the AKR withdrew the party from the coalition with LDK and together with the PANA government formed support of some Serbian mandates. PANA leader Ramush Haradinaj became new prime minister. In January 2017, Haradinaj had been arrested by French police on the Switzerland-France border. The occasion was the existence of an Interpol arrest warrant on Serbian cause. In April, a French court rejected the Serbian extradition request and released Haradinaj.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does KS stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Kosovo. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.

By October 2017, 111 countries out of the 193 UN member states had recognized Kosova as a state. The country had been admitted to the IMF and the World Bank, but not the UN. The surrounding countries – apart from Serbia – had all recognized Kosova.

Independence in 2008

During an extraordinary meeting of the Kosovo National Assembly on February 17, 2008, the province declared itself independent. The decision was unanimous. Russia immediately brought the matter to the UN Security Council. Serbia thought the declaration of independence was illegal, and fighting broke out between Serbs and UN forces in Mitrovica. Most European countries and the US supported Kosovo’s independence.

In April 2008, the Kosovo Assembly passed a new constitution that transfers power from the UN to the country’s government, after nine years of UN rule. In June 2008, Serbs in Kosovo established an opposition assembly in Mitrovica. Since December 2008, the EU mission EULEX has monitored the development of state institutions in the country.

The time after independence

Like Serbia, Kosovo has aspirations for EU membership. In April 2013, the two countries signed an agreement to normalize the relationship, organized by the EU. This Brussels agreement reaffirmed that Kosovo’s legal and institutional frameworks will apply throughout the country. At the same time, it provides extensive self-government to the Serbian population in the north where there is a Serbian majority. The agreement did not entail Serbian recognition of Kosovo’s independence, but provided the basis for normal cooperation between the states and can in many ways be seen as a de facto recognition by Serbian people.

In practice, cooperation with Serbia was counteracted by the Albanian opposition, leading to a prolonged government crisis. The government that was formed in late 2014 consists of the Kosovo Democratic Party (Partia Demokratike e Kosovës, PDK) and Kosovo Democratic League (Lidhja Demokratike e Kosovës, LDK). An important task for this unpopular coalition has been cooperation with Serbia, including self-government for the Serbian minority. Other controversial topics have been questions of war criminal courts and the establishment of the border with Montenegro. The EU is still monitoring the normalization of relations between Priština and Belgrade. In November 2014, Kosovo’s parliament ratified the Association and Stabilization Agreement with the EU, an important step on the road to membership.

Kosovo’s independence is recognized by 116 countries and 23 out of 28 EU countries (2017). Serbia, Russia and a number of other countries do not recognize Kosovo’s independence and prevent UN membership. In 2010, the UN International Court ruled that Kosovo’s declaration of independence does not violate international law, a judgment Serbia does not accept. However, Kosovo has been included as a member of organizations such as the International Olympic Committee and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Kosovo’s political status is still contested, with many unresolved issues between Kosovo and Serbia. Relations between Albanians and Serbs are still inflamed.