Economy and energy
Kosovo’s economy is among the least developed in Europe and its population among the poorest. In 2015, the GDP grew by 3.2%, while the per capita GDP stood at around $ 2,863, among the lowest in the Balkan region. Despite the economic progress recorded since the late nineties, the Kosovar economy is still largely dependent on the technical and financial assistance of the international community and on remittances: in fact, the latter account for about 17% of the GDP and come mainly from emigrants. in Germany and Switzerland.
Industrial production has not yet fully recovered and agriculture, which accounts for 14% of GDP, is generally a subsistence and low-productivity activity. As a result, unemployment is high (35.1%), especially among young people (60.2%). The percentage of the population living below the national poverty level (29.7%) is also consistent, mainly concentrated in rural areas and in the northern provinces of Mitrovicë / Kosovska Mitrovica and Ferizaj / Uroševac.
Immediately after the war, Kosovo imported almost all consumer goods and raw materials. Later, with the reconstruction and partial resumption of production, the country imported more industrial machinery and raw materials and began to export. The main exported products are metals (with related derivatives) and food, while the main recipient countries are Italy, Albania, Macedonia, Switzerland and Germany. The EU as a whole is the most important trading partner and the first foreign investor. In the monetary field, not having its own currency and considering the relevant economic ties with the EU, Kosovo has adopted the euro, although the Serbian dinar also continues to circulate in the north. As a further demonstration of the support (including economic) of the international community, in June 2009 Kosovo joined two of the major international financial institutions: the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
According to indexdotcom, the Kosovar energy sector suffers from years of lack of investment and currently does not meet the needs of the population, although when it was still a region of Serbia it was a net exporter of electricity. The country does not have significant reserves of gas and oil but has large deposits of lignite, a mineral similar to coal that is used for the production of electricity. Consequently, the country has the potential to start exporting energy again, but it needs to develop its capacity; however, the growth of the sector could have a significant impact on economic development and employment.
Defense and security
After the entry into force of the new Constitution, in June 2008, the Kosovar parliament approved the creation of the ministries of foreign affairs, defense and the armed forces, which number 2,500 units. In reality, these departments remain institutions without competences, as their functions are largely exercised by international forces permanently present in the country. While in mid-2008, the Secretary General of the United Nations has decided to downsize the civilian mission UNMIK, the mission of the skills A were transferred to head the European Commission inaugurated the same year, and ulex, and not to the local administration. Made up of around 1,500 people between local and international personnel, Eulex has taken over from the United Nations in its three roles of guaranteeing internal security, improving the administration of justice and customs control. The ultimate goal remains the transfer of these competences to the local government; however, the process, linked to the progress shown by the Kosovar government in the three areas of Eulex competence, is proceeding extremely slowly. Equally important is the role played by the KFOR military mission, under NATO command, in which 31 countries participate. The tensions arising from Kosovo’s economic non-self-sufficiency and the numerous illegal trafficking through the country, added to the complex relations with the Serbian minority and with Belgrade, still make it necessary to have a permanent presence of a military force. After reaching a peak of 50,000 soldiers, in 2012 the Kfor forces present in Kosovo came to count about 6000 soldiers and then subsequently reduced to reach the quota of 4609 units in November 2015. The numerical downsizing of the contingent, however, does not change the he objective of the mission, which remains that of constituting a deterrent potential, largely symbolic, against any threat of foreign military intervention.
The difficult relations between Kosovo and Serbia and the opinion of the International Court of Justice
In 2008 Serbia proposed a resolution to the General Assembly of the U n, requiring the latter to request an opinion from the International Court of Justice on the compatibility with international law of the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo.
The Court’s July 2010 opinion, adopted by majority rather than unanimity, stated that such a declaration does not violate international law. However, it did not clarify the conditions under which a unilateral declaration of independence could legitimately give rise to a new state, nor whether Kosovo was eligible to be considered such. Therefore, the opinion did not represent a setback for the Kosovo independence process, but at the same time it did not diminish the need for a political solution to the issue.
Serbia, for its part, proposed a second resolution to the General Assembly of the U n which aimed to question the independence of Kosovo but which, thanks to pressure from the EU, was then amended to recognize the opinion of the Court and open to a possible dialogue between the two countries. This backtrack seems to confirm that Serbia, wishing to join the EU, could in fact recognize the status of Kosovo in the future, remaining uncompromising about the renunciation of Kosovar sovereignty over the northern part of the region, with a Serbian majority, and the recognition of the status. extraterritorial of the Orthodox monasteries present in the Kosovar territory. European pressure was also effective in overcoming the tensions, and the consequent deadlock, recorded in the second half of 2011 in the achievement and execution of a series of technical agreements between the two countries: from the regularization of the transit of people to the movement of goods., passing through the mutual recognition of educational qualifications and cadastral registrations.