Kosovo (GPS: 42 35 N, 21 00 E) is located in Southeast Europe, between Serbia and North Macedonia. The country’s area measurements are total: 10,887 sq km; land: 10,887 sq km, water: 0 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly larger than Delaware. The total irrigated land is N/A.
One of Kosovo’s essential features: The 41-km long Nerodimka River divides into two branches, each of which flows into a different sea: the northern branch flows into the Sitnica River, which via the Ibar, Morava, and Danube Rivers ultimately flows into the Black Sea. The southern branch flows via the Lepenac and Vardar Rivers into the Aegean Sea.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Pristina’s GPS coordinates are 42 40 N 21 10 E. Pristina’s local time is 6 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+1, note; Daylight saving time: +1hr begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October.
The central Balkans were part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires before ethnic Serbs migrated to modern Kosovo territories in the 7th century. During the medieval period, Kosovo became the center of a Serbian Empire and saw many important Serb religious sites, including many architecturally significant Serbian Orthodox monasteries. The defeat of Serbian forces at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 led to five centuries of Ottoman rule, during which large numbers of Turks and Albanians moved to Kosovo. By the end of the 19th century, Albanians replaced Serbs as the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo. Serbia reacquired control over the region from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War of 1912.
After World War II, Kosovo’s present-day boundaries were established when Kosovo became an autonomous province of Serbia in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (S.F.R.Y.). Despite legislative concessions, Albanian nationalism increased in the 1980s, which led to riots and calls for Kosovo’s independence. The Serbs – many of whom viewed Kosovo as their cultural heartland – instituted a new constitution in 1989 revoking Kosovo’s autonomous status. Kosovo’s Albanian leaders responded in 1991 by organizing a referendum declaring Kosovo independent. Serbia undertook repressive measures against the Kosovar Albanians in the 1990s, provoking a Kosovar Albanian insurgency. In 1998, Serbia conducted a brutal counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians (some 800,000 ethnic Albanians were forced from their homes in Kosovo). After international attempts to mediate the conflict failed, a three-month NATO military operation against Serbia beginning in March 1999 caused the Serbs to agree to withdraw their military and police forces from Kosovo. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) placed Kosovo under a transitional administration, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), pending Kosovo’s future status. An UN-led process began in late 2005 to determine Kosovo’s final grade. The 2006-07 negotiations ended without agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, though the UN issued a comprehensive report on Kosovo’s final status that endorsed independence. On 17 February 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo independent. Since then, over 100 countries have recognized Kosovo, and it has joined numerous international organizations.
In October 2008, Serbia sought an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality under international law of Kosovo’s declaration of independence. The ICJ released the advisory statement in July 2010, affirming that Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate general principles of international law, UN Security Council Resolution 1244, or the Constitutive Framework. The opinion was closely tailored to Kosovo’s unique history and circumstances. Demonstrating Kosovo’s development into a sovereign, multi-ethnic, democratic country, the international community ended the period of Supervised Independence in 2012. Kosovo held its most recent national and municipal elections in 2017. Serbia continues to reject Kosovo’s independence, but the two countries agreed in April 2013 to normalize their relations through EU-facilitated talks, which produced several subsequent agreements the parties are engaged in implementing. However, they have not yet reached a comprehensive normalization of relations. Kosovo seeks full integration into the international community and has pursued bilateral recognitions and international organizations’ memberships. Kosovo signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU in 2015. A 2018 EU report named it one of six Western Balkan countries that will join the organization once it meets the criteria to accede. Kosovo also seeks memberships in the UN and NATO.
Kosovo’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Kosovo, traditional short form: Kosovo, local long form: Republika e Kosoves (Republika Kosovo), local short state: Kosova (Kosovo), etymology: name derives from the Serbian “kos” meaning “blackbird,” an ellipsis (linguistic omission) for “kosove polje” or “field of the blackbirds.” The name derives from the Serbian “kos” meaning “blackbird,” an ellipsis (linguistic omission) for “kosove polje” or “field of the blackbirds.”
Kosovo’s terrain is a typically flat fluvial basin at an elevation of 400-700 m above sea level surrounded by several high mountain ranges with peaks of 2,000 to 2,500 m. The country’s mean height: N/A, elevation extremes; lowest point: Drini i Bardhe/Beli Drim 297 m, highest point: Gjeravica/Deravica 2,656 m.
The country’s general climate is influenced by continental air masses resulting in relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns: Mediterranean and alpine influences create regional variation: maximum rainfall between October and December.
The total number of border countries is 4, Albania 112 km, North Macedonia 160 km, Montenegro 76 km, Serbia 366 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Kosovo’s coastline is 0 km (landlocked country), while its marital claims are: none. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 52.8%; arable land 27.4%; permanent crops 1.9%; permanent pasture 23.5%; forest: 41.7%; other: 5.5% (2001 estimate).
The population in Kosovo 1,907,592 (July 2018 estimate), N/A, major urban area’s population: PRISTINA (capital) 207,062 (2014), while Kosovo has pockets of agglomeration exist throughout the country, the largest being in the east in and around the capital of Pristina. Their spoken languages are: Albanian (official language) 94.5%, Bosnian 1.7%, Serbian (official language) 1.6%, Turkish 1.1%, other 0.9% (includes Romani), unspecified 0.1%. Note: in municipalities where a community’s mother tongue is not one of Kosovo’s official language languages, the language of that community may be given official language status according to the 2006 Law on the Use of Languages (2011 estimate). Main religions in Kosovo are Muslim 95.6%, Roman Catholic 2.2%, Orthodox 1.5%, other 0.07%, none 0.07%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 estimate). The nation uses a civil law system; note- the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) retains limited executive powers related to investigating such issues as war crimes. It is a(n) parliamentary republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 17 February (2008).
Economic overview for the country: Kosovo’s economy has shown progress in transitioning to a market-based system and maintaining macroeconomic stability, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora – located mainly in Germany, Switzerland, and the Nordic countries – are estimated to account for about 17% of GDP, and international donor assistance accounts for approximately 10% of GDP. With international help, Kosovo has been able to privatize a majority of its state-owned enterprises. Kosovo’s citizens are the second poorest in Europe, after Moldova, with a per capita GDP (PPP) of $10,400 in 2017. An unemployment rate of 33% and a youth unemployment rate near 60% in a country where the average age is 26 encourages emigration and fuels a significant informal, unreported economy. Most of Kosovo’s population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common due to small plots, limited mechanization, and a lack of technical expertise.
Kosovo enjoys lower labor costs than the rest of the region. However, high levels of corruption, little contract enforcement, and unreliable electricity supply have discouraged potential investors. Kosovo’s official currency is the euro, but the Serbian dinar is also used illegally in Serb majority communities. Kosovo’s tie to the euro has helped keep core inflation low. Minerals and metals production – including lignite, lead, zinc, nickel, chrome, aluminum, magnesium, and a wide variety of construction materials – once the backbone of the industry, has declined because of aging equipment and insufficient investment, problems exacerbated by competing and unresolved ownership claims of Kosovo’s largest mines. A limited and unreliable electricity supply is a significant impediment to economic development. The US Government is cooperating with the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and the World Bank to conclude a commercial tender for Kosovo C’s construction, a new lignite-fired power plant that would leverage Kosovo’s large lignite reserves. MED also has plans to rehabilitate an older bituminous-fired power plant, Kosovo B, and the development of a coal mine that could supply both plants.
In June 2009, Kosovo joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the Central Europe Free Trade Area (CEFTA) in 2006, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2012, and the Council of Europe Development Bank in 2013. In 2016, Kosovo implemented the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) negotiations with the EU, focused on trade liberalization. In 2014, nearly 60% of customs duty-eligible imports into Kosovo were EU goods. In August 2015, as part of its EU-facilitated normalization process with Serbia, Kosovo signed agreements on telecommunications and energy distribution. Still, disagreements over who owns economic assets, such as the Trepca mining conglomerate, within Kosovo continue. Kosovo experienced its first federal budget deficit in 2012 when government expenditures climbed sharply. In May 2014, the government introduced a 25% salary increase for public sector employees and an equal increase in certain social benefits. Central revenues could not sustain these increases, and the government was forced to reduce its planned capital investments.
The government, led by Prime Minister MUSTAFA – a trained economist – recently made several changes to its fiscal policy, expanding the list of duty-free imports, decreasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) for essential food items and public utilities, and increasing the VAT for all other goods. While Kosovo’s economy continued to make progress, unemployment has not been reduced, nor living standards raised due to lack of economic reforms and investment.
Main export partners for Kosovo, Europe are Italy 25.8%, Albania 14.6%, North Macedonia 9.6%, China 5.5%, Germany 5.4%, Switzerland 5.4%, Turkey 4.1% (2012 estimate) for mining and processed metal products, scrap metals, leather products, machinery, appliances, prepared foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco, vegetable products, textiles, and apparel, while the main import partners for the country are: Germany 11.9%, North Macedonia 11.5%, Serbia 11.1%, Italy 8.5%, Turkey 9%, China 6.4%, Albania 4.4% (2012 estimate) for foodstuffs, livestock, wood, petroleum, chemicals, machinery, minerals, textiles, stone, ceramic and glass products, electrical equipment.
When you visit this country in Europe, consider the natural hazards in Kosovo: N/A, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that Kosovo faces the following environmental issues: Air pollution (pollution from power plants and nearby lignite mines take a toll on people’s health), water scarcity and pollution, Land degradation.