Serbs migrated to the territories of modern Kosovo in the 7th century, but did not fully incorporate them into the Serbian realm until the early 13th century. The Serbian defeat 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 the Serbs as the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo. Serbia reacquired control over Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War (1912), and after World War II (1945) the government of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia led by Josip Broz TITO reorganized Kosovo as an autonomous province within the constituent republic of Serbia. Over the next four decades, Kosovo Albanians lobbied for greater autonomy and Kosovo was granted the status almost equal to that of a republic in the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution. Despite the legislative concessions, Albanian nationalism increased in the 1980s leading to nationalist riots and calls for Kosovo's independence. Serbs in Kosovo complained of mistreatment and Serb nationalist leaders, such as Slobodan MILOSEVIC, exploited those charges to win support among Serbian voters, many of whom viewed Kosovo as their cultural heartland. Under MILOSEVIC's leadership, Serbia instituted a new constitution in 1989 that drastically curtailed Kosovo's autonomy and Kosovo Albanian leaders responded in 1991 by organizing a referendum that declared Kosovo independent from Serbia. The MILOSEVIC regime carried out repressive measures against the Albanians in the early 1990s as the unofficial government of Kosovo, led by Ibrahim RUGOVA, tried to use passive resistance to gain international assistance and recognition of its demands for independence. In 1995, Albanians dissatisfied with RUGOVA's nonviolent strategy created the Kosovo Liberation Army and launched an insurgency. In 1998, MILOSEVIC authorized a counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians by Serbian military, police, and paramilitary forces. The international community tried to resolve the conflict peacefully, but MILOSEVIC rejected the proposed international settlement - the Rambouillet Accords - leading to a three-month NATO bombing of Serbia beginning in March 1999, which forced Serbia to withdraw its military and police forces from Kosovo in June 1999. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) placed Kosovo under a transitional administration, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), pending a determination of Kosovo's future status. Under the resolution, Serbia's territorial integrity was protected, but it was UNMIK who assumed responsibility for governing Kosovo. In 2001, UNMIK promulgated a Constitutional Framework, which established Kosovo's Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), and in succeeding years UNMIK increasingly devolved responsibilities to the PISG. A UN-led process began in late 2005 to determine Kosovo's future status. Negotiations held intermittently between 2006 and 2007 on issues related to decentralization, religious heritage, and minority rights failed to yield a resolution between Serbia's willingness to grant a high degree of autonomy and the Albanians' call for full independence for Kosovo. On 17 February 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared its independence from Serbia.
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
conventional long form: Republic of Kosovo conventional short form: Kosovo local long form: Republika e Kosoves (Republika Kosova) local short form: Kosova (Kosovo) former: Kosovo i Metohija, Autonomna Pokrajina
name: Pristina (Prishtine) geographic coordinates: 42 40 N, 21 10 E time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
chief of state: President Fatmir SEJDIU (since 10 February 2006) head of government: Prime Minister Hashim THACI (since 9 January 2008) cabinet: ministers; elected by the Kosovo Assembly elections: the president is elected for a 5-year term by the Kosovo Assembly; the prime minister is elected by the Kosovo Assembly election results: Fatmir SEJDIU and Hashim THACI elected to be president and prime minister respectively by the Assembly
unicameral Kosovo Assembly of the Provisional Government (120 seats; 100 seats directly elected, 10 seats for Serbs, 10 seats for other minorities; to serve three-year terms) elections: last held 17 November 2007 (next to be held NA) election results: percent of vote by party - Democratic Party of Kosovo 34.3%, Democratic League of Kosovo 22.6%, New Kosovo Alliance 12.3%, Democratic League of Dardania-Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo 10.0%, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo 9.6%; seats by party - Democratic Party of Kosovo 37, Democratic League of Kosovo 25, New Kosovo Alliance 13, Democratic League of Dardania-Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo 11, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo 10
Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo or PSHDK [Mark KRASNIQI]; Alliance for the Future of Kosovo or AAK [Ramush HARADINAJ]; Alliance of Independent Social Democrats of Kososvo and Metohija or SDSKiM [Slavisa PETKOVIC]; Autonomous Liberal Party of SLS [Slobodan PETROVIC]; Bosniak Vakat Coalition [ Dzezair MURATI]; Citizens' Initiative of Gora or GIG [Murselj HALILI]; Council of Independent Social Democrats of Kosovo or SNSDKIM [Ljubisa ZIVIC]; Democratic League of Dardania or LDD [Nexhat DACI]; Democratic League of Kosovo or LDK [Fatmir SEJDIU]; Democratic Party of Ashkali of Kosovo or PDAK [Sabit RRAHMANI]; Democratic Party of Kosovo or PDK [Hashim THACI]; Kosovo Democratic Turkish Party of KDTP [Mahir YAGCILAR]; New Democratic Initiative of Kosovo or IRDK [Xhevdet Neziraj]; New Democratic Party or ND [Branislav GRBIC]; New Kosovo Alliance [Behgjet PACOLLI]; Popular Movement of Kosovo or LPK [Emrush XHEMAJLI]; Reform Party Ora; Serb National Party or SNS [Mihailo SCEPANOVIC]; Serbian Kosovo and Metohija Party or SKMS [Dragisa MIRIC]; United Roma Party of Kosovo or PREBK [Haxhi Zylfi MERXHA]; Democratic Action Party or SDA [Numan BALIC]
Kosovo's economy has largely transitioned to a market-based system but is highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora - located mainly in Germany and Switzerland - account for about 30% of GDP. Kosovo's citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average per capita income of only $1900 - about one-third the level of neighboring Albania. Unemployment - at 50% of the population - is a severe problem that encourages outward migration. Most of Kosovo's population lives in rural towns outside of the largest city, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common - the result of small plots, limited mechanization, and lack of technical expertise. The complexity of Serbia and Kosovo's political and legal relationships created uncertainty over property rights and hindered the privatization of state-owned assets. Minerals and metals - including lignite, lead, zinc, nickel, chrome, aluminum, magnesium, and a wide variety of construction materials - once formed the backbone of industry, but output has declined because investment is insufficient to replace ageing Eastern Bloc equipment. Technical and financial problems in the power sector also impede industrial development, and deter foreign investment. Economic growth is largely driven by the private sector - mostly small-scale retail businesses. Both the euro and the Serbian dinar circulate. Kosovo's tie to the euro has helped keep inflation low. Kosovo has maintained a budget surplus as a result of efficient tax collection and inefficient spending. While maintaining ultimate oversight, UNMIK continues to work with the EU and Kosovo's provisional government to accelerate economic growth, lower unemployment, and attract foreign investment. In order to help integrate Kosovo into regional economic structures, UNMIK signed (on behalf of Kosovo) its accession to the Central Europe Free Trade Area (CEFTA) in 2006.
Serbia with several other states protest the US and other states' recognition of Kosovo's declaring itself as a sovereign and independent state in February 2008; ethnic Serbian municipalities along Kosovo's northern border challenge final status of Kosovo-Serbia boundary; several thousand NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers under UNMIK authority continue to keep the peace within Kosovo between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo; Kosovo authorities object to alignment of the Kosovo boundary with Macedonia in accordance with the 2000 Macedonia-Serbia and Montenegro delimitation agreement