International cooperation with Kosovo
Kosovo and the European Union
The integration of the Western Balkan countries (WBCs, including Kosovo, into the European Union (EU) is a major political and economic project designed to assure stability and development in the region. Since 1999, the European Union has been an integral part and active party of the international efforts to build a new future in Kosovo. The European Union is by far the single largest donor providing assistance to Kosovo and the South Eastern European region as a whole and is at the forefront of the reconstruction effort.
There are two main EU bodies operating in Kosovo: EULEX, and the European Union Office in Kosovo / European Special Representative in Kosovo.
The EU Office in Kosovo plays a pivotal role in the implementation of the European agenda in the country. As a component of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission’s representation in Pristina, the Office ensures that a permanent political and technical dialogue is maintained with the Brussels institutions.
Kosovo benefits from the EU’s Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) and Instrument for Stability (IfS) as well as other funding sources. For instance, the funding allocated to Kosovo under IPA II (2014-2020) will contribute to the following priority sectors:
- Democracy & governance;
- Rule of law & fundamental rights;
- Competitiveness & innovation;
- Education, employment & social policies
- Agriculture & rural development
- Regional and territorial cooperation
The EU Office in Kosovo also manages projects focusing on culture, media, the youth and sports, trade, etc.
EULEX supports Kosovo on its path to a greater European integration in the rule of law area. EULEX's skills and expertise are being used to support the key EU aims in the visa liberalization process, the Feasibility Study and the Pristina-Belgrade Dialogue. EULEX also supports the Structured Dialogue on the rule of law, led by Brussels. EULEX continues to concentrate on the fight against corruption and works closely with local counterparts to achieve sustainability and EU best practices in Kosovo. EULEX prioritises the establishment of the rule of law in the north.
Kosovo and the Council of Europe
Over the last years, the Council of Europe (CoE) has intensified cooperation in Kosovo, in line with CoE status neutrality and taking account of democratic developments and neighbourly relations in the region.
As of January 2015, on-going cooperation activities implemented in Kosovo amount to €4.7 million (EU/CoE Joint Programmes), mainly in the fields of anti-corruption/money laundering, access to education for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian, and cultural diversity.
The Council of Europe’s most known initiative in Kosovo is “Support to the Promotion of Cultural Diversity in Kosovo Phase I and II”, a successfully developed project which worked towards the promotion of intercultural dialogue, national and international cooperation and sustainable development. This initiative was held by the Council of Europe together with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, regional and local institutions, the Serbian Orthodox Church and civil society.
Kosovo is also a beneficiary of the regional Joint EU/CoE Programmes in the fields of promoting minority protection - including Roma and inclusive education and of the CoE regional project on freedom of expression and freedom of the media (funded by Norway).
Kosovo and UNESCO
Although Kosovo is not still an official member of UNESCO, there are several medieval monuments in the country that are included in the World Heritage List:
The Dečani Monastery was built in the mid-14th century for the Serbian king Stefan Dečanski and is also his mausoleum. The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery is a group of four domed churches featuring series of wall paintings. The 13th-century frescoes of the Church of Holy Apostles are painted in a unique, monumental style. Early 14th-century frescoes in the church of the Holy Virgin of Ljevisa represent the appearance of the new so-called Palaiologian Renaissance style, combining the influences of the eastern Orthodox Byzantine and the Western Romanesque traditions. The style played a decisive role in subsequent Balkan art.
Kosovo and La Francophonie
Created in 1970, the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) represents one of the biggest linguistic zones in the world. IOF organises political activities and actions of multilateral cooperation that benefit French-speaking populations. Its actions respect cultural and linguistic diversity and serve to promote the French language, peace and sustainable development.
The IOF includes 57 Member States and Governments as well as 23 observer countries. Kosovo joint the organisation as an observer in 2014.
Kosovo and UN-HABITAT
Since the end of the war in Kosovo in 1999, UN-HABITAT has been promoting good governance, security of tenure, sustainable human settlements development and inclusive spatial planning in Kosovo and the broader region. UN-HABITAT’s interventions were focused on the establishment of institutions to deal with property and planning issues, such as the Housing and Property Directorate, the Kosovo Cadastre Agency, the Institute for Spatial Planning within the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning.