|Republika e Kosovës|
|Official language||Albanian, Serbian|
|Form of government||Parliamentary democracy|
|Time zone||UTC + 1 CETUTC + 2 CEST (March-October)|
|Telephone area code||00381 (Source: ALLCITYCODES)|
10 887 km²; 1.78 million residents. Geographically, Kosovo occupies a central position on the Balkan Peninsula. It shares borders with Serbia (north and east), Montenegro (northwest) and Macedonia (southeast). The capital is Pristina. The highest mountain in Kosovo is the Gjeravica / Djeravica with a height of 2,656 m. At 122 km, the Drin is the longest river in the country.
The temperate continental climate prevails. Seasonal temperature fluctuations can be severe (up to 40 °C in summer, down to -20 °C in winter). October to December is the time with the highest rainfall.
Flora and fauna
53 percent of the country is used for agriculture, 41 percent are forested. Wild animal species such as eagles, wolves and wild boars are native to the mountain regions. The most common tree species are oak, elm and pine.
Of the 1.78 million Kosovars, 91% are Albanians and 4% Serbs. Smaller ethnic minorities are Bosniaks, Gorans, Turks, Ashkali and Roma. According to COUNTRYAAH, over half of the residents are under 25 years old, a third under 16 years. Due to a high birth surplus, stable population growth has been recorded. In addition, approximately 350,000 to 400,000 Kosovars live abroad, primarily in Germany, Switzerland and the United States. Illiteracy is particularly widespread in rural areas and among the group of people over 55, especially among women.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008 and has since been recognized by a large number of countries (including many EU countries, Turkey and the United States). According to the constitution that came into force on June 15, 2008, the state is a secular republic. The status of Kosovo is controversial, as Serbia and several other countries continue to see Kosovo as a Serbian territory and refuse to recognize it under international law. Kosovo’s sovereignty remains limited by the powers of its international presences.
The President elected by Parliament for five years is the country’s highest representative (President Atifete Jahjaga since 2011). He proclaims elections, appoints the Prime Minister (since 2008 Hashim Thaçi) to form a government on the proposal of the majority party in Parliament and appoints the judges of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court as well as the Attorney General.
The legislative body is the unicameral parliament with 120 seats, 20 of which are reserved for members of the national minorities (including 10 seats for Kosovo Serb representatives). The deputies are elected for four years.
The most important parties are the UÇK Democratic Party (PDK), the Democratic League (LDK) and the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) of the entrepreneur Behgjet Pacolli.
The country consists of seven districts. The Serbian enclaves in the north manage themselves partly, so that these areas are managed in parallel.
Kosovo is one of the fastest growing, but also one of the poorest countries in Europe. In 2011, the average per capita income was 350 euros / month. The economy has been so far only marginally integrated into the global economy. The economic structure today is based on market principles, but is not yet independent of international support. The Kosovars abroad, who mostly live in Germany and Switzerland, play a major role here. Their money transfers are estimated to account for 30% of gross domestic product (GDP). Economic growth in 2012 was 3.8%.
One of the greatest challenges for the young republic is high unemployment. This is estimated at over 40%, youth unemployment as high as 75%.
The agricultural sector contributes around 13% of GDP. The industrial sector generated 20% and the service sector 68%. Small and medium-sized companies form almost all types of company. The large raw material stocks offer future prospects; Kosovo has one of the largest lignite deposits in Europe.
The country’s foreign trade is largely determined by imports. Raw materials, machines and food form the largest part of the imported products. The main export products are raw materials (zinc, nickel, magnesium and lead), food, beverages and tobacco, machines and electrical appliances.