President Alain Berset receives Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti
Bern, 22.09.2023 - President Berset received the prime minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, for a courtesy visit on Friday, 22 September. The talks were devoted in particular to the situation in northern Kosovo and the process led by the European Union (EU) to normalise relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
The president stressed Switzerland's support for the normalisation process and called for the implementation of the agreements negotiated in Brussels and Ohrid in the spring. Credible steps and pragmatism are needed in Serbia and Kosovo to get the process back on track. The discussions therefore addressed the steps set out in the agreements to be taken by both sides, including the Kosovo government's commitment to guarantee an adequate degree of self-management for Serb-majority municipalities.
Switzerland supports Kosovo's aspiration to join the Council of Europe, especially as this would enable all of the country’s inhabitants – including members of the Serb minority and other communities – to have access to the European Court of Human Rights. Mr Berset emphasised the importance that Switzerland places on a stable and prosperous Western Balkans region. Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Kosovo have developed in economic terms, but further potential remains. Legal certainty and the easing of tensions in the region are important in this regard.
Switzerland is the second-largest source of foreign direct investment in Kosovo. Relations are particularly close thanks to Kosovo’s diaspora. Around 115,000 Kosovans live in Switzerland, and a total of up to 180,000 people in this country have Kosovan roots. Kosovo, whose independence Switzerland recognised back in 2008, is now also a priority country in international cooperation, with the Swiss Cooperation Programme for Kosovo 2022-2025 focusing on democratic governance, sustainable economic development, climate change, water and health, and migration. Furthermore, the Swiss Armed Forces have been involved in peacebuilding on the ground since 1999; in June, Parliament approved an extension of the Swisscoy deployment until 2026.
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