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Sweden - Southeast Europe News Site


to the news site of the Chamber of Commerce for Sweden - Southeast Europe in cooperation with Business Sweden and Governments and Organisations in SEE.

Sweden will back visa liberalisation for Kosovo

Kosovo Posted on Wed, February 25, 2015 13:13:34

Sweden is committed to supporting the process of Kosovo’s integration into the European Union, the President of the Assembly of Sweden, Urban Ahlin said at a meeting with Kosovan President Atifete Jahjaga, according to bne Intellinews who quotes a statement on the Kosovan presidential website.
However, the recent revelations about illegal migration of Kosovans to the EU has “hampered the process”, Ahlin added.
Around 100,000 Kosovans are estimated to have left for the EU within the last six months. Hungary, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Belgium all reported a sharp increase in Kosovo nationals seeking asylum in December 2014 and January 2015.

Kosovo company steps into the Macedonian market

Kosovo Posted on Fri, September 06, 2013 10:19:48

We have not written much about Kosovo here lately. To be frank we don´t get much info from companies in the country or their Swedish embassy. Maybe that will change, however, as we learn that Kosovan companies are on the move with investments into other countries. Macedonia seems to be one such target market as Kosova´s Elkos Group is planning to build a trade centre in Shtip this year, making it the biggest investment by a Kosovo company in the country. Read more in the news here.

A Historic Deal? “Fan tro´t” as we say in Swedish….

Kosovo Posted on Sat, April 20, 2013 22:51:48

You all heard about it by now. The initialisation of the agreement between Serbia and Kosovo last week. The draft agreement envisions that the local Serbian community will choose local police commanders, while the composition of the police will reflect the ethnic structure on the ground. The draft also proposes more judges coming from the Serbian minority.A so-called Association of Serb Municipalities with broad powers will include the four Serb-run northern municipalities of North Mitrovica, Leposavic, Zvecan and Zubin Potok.
For the agreement to take force the two states have to finalise it within a few days. “Fan tro´t”.

Read more from Balkan Insight here.

Sweden invites participants from Kosovo to apply for International Training Programmes for Private Sector Development

Kosovo Posted on Sat, March 09, 2013 17:40:08

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) invites participants from Kosovo to apply for International Training Programmes for Private Sector Development: “Strategic Business Management” (SBM) and ” Private Sector Growth” (PSG). The closing date for applications is April 19, 2013.
The programme for Strategic Business Management (SBM) is designed for business leaders from small and medium-sized businesses whereas the programme for Private Sector Growth (PSG) is intended for high-level professionals from national institutions and organisations promoting private sector development in the country.
More information and application forms can be downloaded here.

Kosovo and Serbia Reach Customs Deal

Kosovo Posted on Tue, September 06, 2011 21:23:54

Belgrade and Pristina have agreed to a wording for Kosovo customs stamp which will allow the former province to export to Serbia for the first time since it declared independence in February 2008. (

Sveriges Radio idag: Kosovoledare kopplas till organhandel

Kosovo Posted on Wed, December 15, 2010 20:33:18

Kosovos premiärminister Hashim Thaci har varit ledare för en maffialiknande organisation, skyldig till bland annat mord och organhandel. Det hävdas i en ny rapport från Europarådet för mänskliga rättigheter enl Sveriges Radios nyhetssändning idag.
Efter misstänkt valfusk utropade sig Hashim Thacis parti som segrare i helgens parlamentsval, men i Europarådets rapport anklagas nu premiärministern för betydligt värre brott än valfusk.
Enligt rapporten ska han i slutet av 1990-talet ha varit ledare för en organisation som ägnade sig åt organiserad brottslighet. Hashim Thaci och fyra andra medlemmar i organisationen ska personligen ha varit delaktiga i bland annat mord, kidnappning och misshandel.
Thaci pekas ut som ledare för en omfattande handel med heroin, och i rapporten beskrivs också hur serbiska fångar i ett läger blev mördade för att man skulle kunna skära ut deras njurar. Njurarna såldes sedan på svarta marknaden.
Läs eller lyssna till SRs nyhetssändning om Kosovo här.

Serbia drops challenge to Kosovo’s independence at UN

Kosovo Posted on Fri, September 10, 2010 09:52:52

Serbia has dropped its challenge to Kosovo’s independence at the UN under intense EU and US pressure, Business New Europe writes in a news flash today.
Serbia does not want to be isolated in Europe and destroy its own EU bid.
The move paves the way for eventual talks between Belgrade and Prishtina.
Belgrade said it would drop calls for the condemnation of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. “Serbia will, of course, continue its policy, which includes at the same time defending our national interests,” Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said today, “but Serbia also must take into consideration the views of all our friends, and also those who have different views, and whose position is very important in the international community”.

Mobile war breaks out in Kosovo

Kosovo Posted on Wed, April 28, 2010 21:29:49

Thousands of Serbs in Kosovo have protested after the Kosovan authorities dismantled two Serbian mobile phone networks operating in the territory. The move comes as Pristina attempts to assert control over all Kosovo, including enclaves where the Serbian minority remains loyal to Belgrade.
Kosovo’s telephone network mirrors the political row over its status.
The latest development has led to protests by thousands of people in Serb enclaves across Kosovo.

Kosovo has had its own mobile phone providers for several years. Since 2008, when it unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, management of the networks has passed from the UN to Kosovan authorities. But the minority Serb population there still uses mobiles provided by Serbian companies, using a different prefix. Many still refuse to accept what they see as Kosovo’s illegal secession. Now the Kosovan government has dismantled two Serbian networks – state-run Telekom Srbija and the Serbian branch of the Norwegian firm Telenor, leading to protests in Kosovo’s Serb enclaves.
Authorities in Belgrade say the move is deliberately creating tensions, calling it a form of ethnic cleansing.
Read the full BBC story here.

Serbia takes Kosovo to court

Kosovo Posted on Tue, December 01, 2009 15:55:01

Serbia has called on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to declare that Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008 broke international law.
Serbian representatives outlined their case as the court in The Hague opened hearings on Kosovo’s secession. They also argued that Kosovo was “the historical cradle of Serbia and constitutes one of the essential pillars of its identity”.
Kosovo is expected to present its view later on Tuesday.
Serbia still considers Kosovo to be part of its territory, and is hoping a favourable ruling at the ICJ will stop it gaining international recognition. Read the whole BBC article here.

Monitors positive on Kosovo vote

Kosovo Posted on Tue, November 17, 2009 14:59:18

International monitors say they are generally happy with the way Kosovo’s local elections were conducted.

European monitors said the poll – the first since the country declared independence from Serbia last year – met many international standards.

PM Hashim Thaci says his Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) won 20 of 36 contested municipalities on Sunday.

President Fatmir Sejdiu’s Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) said it had won the mayoral race in Pristina.

The vote was seen as a crucial test of the democratic credentials of Kosovo’s young government, and important for Kosovo’s search for wider recognition.

It has so far been recognised by 63 of the UN’s 192 members.
Read more of the BBC-article here.

Kosovo prepares for historic vote

Kosovo Posted on Fri, November 13, 2009 22:31:39

People hurled stones and eggs at the Kosovan prime minister’s convoy this week, a spurt of violence just days before the one-time Serbian province holds its first elections since declaring independence.

The flare-up Wednesday targeted Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in the western town of Decan.

It unsettled the Balkan country and international officials looking forward to peaceful local elections on Sunday in a land scarred by conflict and now slowly on the mend.

There will be races in 36 municipalities for mayors and assembly members, with more than 1.5 million people eligible to vote. December 13 has been set as the day for any second round of mayoral elections that may be needed. Read the whole CNN-article here.

SIDA finances business college in Kosovo – Business partner wanted

Kosovo Posted on Thu, July 23, 2009 10:12:06

SPARK has secured funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) for the development of an International Business College Mitrovica (Kosovo/UNSCR 1244). Part of this project will be to become an educational partner institution (or partner consortia) of the college. The educational partner institution(s) will play a large part in developing the college´s curriculum and building the capacity of local teachers.

The tender dossier and a detailed procurement notice are available electronically from

Kosovo Becomes 186th Member of IMF, World Bank

Kosovo Posted on Tue, June 30, 2009 08:11:09

A little more than a year after it declared its independence, the Republic of Kosovo joined Monday the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Thus, Kosovo became the 186th member of the two organizations after its leaders, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, and President Fatmir Sejdiu, signed the documents at a ceremony at the US State Department.
After its declaration of independence on February 17, 2008, Kosovo has been recognized by 60 states including the US and 22 EU member states (including Bulgaria). Its independence is opposed by Serbia, which is backed by Russia.
(Sofia News Agency, June 30)

Bulgarian Court Frees Former Kosovo Leader

Kosovo Posted on Mon, June 29, 2009 01:01:19

New York Times, Bulgaria:
A court released the former prime minister of Kosovo Thursday but requested that he remain available to Bulgarian authorities for up to 40 days as officials consider an extradition request from Serbia to face charges of genocide

Serbia complains to U.N. about Kosovo property claims

Kosovo Posted on Thu, June 18, 2009 09:07:43

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Serbs would like to return to Kosovo but have been stonewalled in their attempts to recover illegally seized property, a Serbian minister told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.
Read more here.

Kosovo planerar Sverigeambassad

Kosovo Posted on Sun, June 14, 2009 09:46:20

Kosovo, som för ett år sedan utropade sin självständighet från Serbien, planerar att öppna en ambassad i Stockholm.

Lagom till jubileet den 17 februari har regeringen i Pristina bestämt att den albanska staten ska vara representerad i ytterligare åtta huvudstäder. Det skriver den österrikiska nyhetsbyrån APA.

De åtta länderna är Sverige, Japan, Nederländerna, Tjeckien, Slovenien, Kroatien, Ungern och Bulgarien.

Vid utrikesdepartementet i Stockholm bekräftar presstjänsten att Sverige känner till Kosovos planer. Sverige representeras diplomatiskt i Kosovo av ambassadören i Makedonien, som är sidoackrediterad i Pristina.

I dag har Kosovo, som inte erkänts av alla EU-stater, utlandsrepresentation i tio stater, däribland USA och Österrike. (TT/DN 11 feb)

No going back for Kosovo, says US

Kosovo Posted on Sun, June 14, 2009 08:36:45

US Vice-President Joe Biden has told Kosovo’s parliament its independence is “absolutely irreversible” and the only viable option for regional stability.

“The success of an independent Kosovo is a priority for our administration,” Mr Biden said in a speech that received several standing ovations from MPs. More to read here.

Kosovo minorities leave, claiming discrimination

Kosovo Posted on Sun, June 14, 2009 01:30:41

The refusal of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leadership to ensure minority rights is driving out many non-Serb minorities, a new human rights report says.

The London-based Minority Rights Group International (MRG) says exclusion from political and social life and discrimination are forcing ethnic Bosniaks, Turks, Roma, Croats, Gorani, Ashkali Egyptians and even some Serbs out of Kosovo.

Non-Serb minorities have criticized the international community for paying too much attention to Albanian-Serb relations and ignoring other groups.

“The priority for the international community should be to ensure that there is some kind of international human rights mechanism to which minorities in Kosovo can turn,” MRG director, Mark Lattimer, said.

Lack of political will

Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008 and Serbia’s opposition to the move had resulted in a vacuum in international protection for minorities, the MRG report says.

Since declaring independence, ethnic divisions have worsened between the enclave’s two million Albanians, 120,000 Serbs, and 80,000 others from smaller ethnic groups, despite the presence of 14,000 NATO peacekeepers and a 2,000-strong European Union mission overseeing a fragile peace.

“There is a lack of political will and substantive investment in effective implementation of minority rights among majority Albanians,” the report says.

“Together with a bad economy, these conditions mean that many members of minority communities are now leaving the new Kosovo state altogether,” MRG concludes.

Integration “a fantasy”

The Kosovo government has called the report “not factually accurate” and says minority rights are guaranteed by the constitution. But Lattimer, in an interview with Deutsche Welle, described that claim as “a fantasy” and stressed that the trend toward greater ethnic segregation was continuing.

“Effectively,” Lattimer said, “ten years of international rule have seen an increase in segregation between communities.”

The MRG report says that the poor treatment of minorities was due to a perception that they had been allies of, or did little to oppose, the former Serb regime in the 1990s.

Serbia still regards Kosovo as part of its historic heartland and has asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague to rule on the legality of its secession.

Serb President Boris Tadic, ahead of a visit to France on Wednesday, told the French daily Le Figaro that Serbia would “never recognize” the unilateral independence of Kosovo.

Kosovo’s independence has only been recognized by 60 of the world’s 200 countries.

Kosovo has been offered IMF membership

Kosovo Posted on Sun, June 14, 2009 01:25:59

The International Monetary Fund has offered Kosovo membership, giving one of Europe’s poorest nations access to millions of dollars in IMF-backed loans.

The IMF announced on Friday that the executive board had certified a vote by the fund’s Board of Governors to offer membership to the the small landlocked country, that broke away from Serbia last year.

It said Kosovo would officially become an IMF member when its representatives sign the relevant papers in Washington, where the 185-member fund is headquartered.

Kosovo’s finance minister said recently that while it was close to joining the IMF, it had no plans to ask for money right away.

Kosovo broke away from Serbia in February 2008 and applied for IMF membership even though it is not a UN member. The IMF recognized Kosovo’s secession last year and said it would consider its membership application, as a sovereign Balkan state, “in due course”.

The IMF’s voting structure allowed Kosovo to gain membership despite the objections of Serbia, Russia and others that have refused to recognize its independence.

Only the United States has an effective veto over the IMF’s decisions, unlike the United Nations, where Russia could block Kosovo’s efforts to join.

Fifty-eight countries have recognized Kosovo’s secession, including the United States and most European Union countries, which have the majority voting power at the IMF. Kosovo has also applied for World Bank membership.

(Deutsche Welle, May 10)