By H.E. Dr. Dren Doli, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Gradually, but surely, Kosovo, the youngest country in Europe, is becoming the most vibrant democracy in the region, and simultaneously transforming into a cultural and entrepreneurial hub.
Since democracy and a functioning market economy remains key to our prosperity, Kosovo in recent years showed that it can deliver on multiple fronts.
In terms of rule of law and good governance, compared to 2020, Kosovo ranked among the best reformers in the region and Europe. In the Rule of Law index, drawn up by the World Justice Project, Kosovo ranks better than all the other countries in the Western-Balkans. While freedom of press is shrinking in many parts of the world, unfortunately in some countries in Europe as well, in the 2021 World Press Freedom index, Kosovo ranks 17 places higher, better than most of the countries in the region and some EU member states. Kosovo’s progress to improve good governance mirrored in the 2021 Transparency International CPI, which rated Kosovo 17 places higher.
Kosovo shares the objectives and values of the Western and European world. Values such as democracy, freedom and equality are key to Kosovo leaders and its people who have taken upon themselves to transform Kosovo into the most prosperous and democratic country in the region.
To that aim, last week the Government of Kosovo deposited its official application to become part of the Council of Europe, showing its real commitment to human rights, rule of law and democracy. Membership in the Council of Europe reflects our determination not to shy away from challenges, but to continue to extend guarantees that make our democracy stronger, our future brighter, and our contribution to the peace and stability in the region more significant.
In terms of foreign policy priorities, Kosovo choices are clear. The membership in the European Union guides our ambition to accelerate reforms while accession to NATO, especially after the unjust war against Ukraine, has become an imperative for the security and stability of the region.
In light of the recent events in Ukraine, Kosovo joined the West and condemned in the strongest possible terms the horrible attack against Ukraine and its people, imposed sanctions to Russia and Belarus and gave its contribution in hosting Ukrainian refugees and journalists.
Kosovo has the youngest population in Europe, which is both highly qualified and ambitions to tackle the challenge of digital transformation. The country is experiencing one of the highest and the fastest growths in the region, especially in the fields related to the production of renewable energy, ICT sector and wood processing industry. Compared to 2020, Kosovo accomplished a 10.53% economic growth and created more than 25,000 new jobs. Its exports reached 83% increase while in Foreign Direct Investment increased 21% compared to 2020.
The recent inauguration of the 105 MV Selac wind farm, consisting of 27 wind turbines, a 186 million dollars project developed by the German companies and financed by a joint Israeli, German and Kosovo investors, shows the commitment of the government in finding effective ways of production of clean energy in order to leave to the future generations a liveable and healthy country. Investment in wind and solar energy allowed Kosovo to have more than 25% of the energy provided by renewable sources.
Being a young country, Kosovo is also the right place to develop innovative and creative start-up hubs. In recent years, the country experienced the birth of a growing number of start-ups. This strongly increased the opportunities of investments for EU companies in Kosovo, especially in the ICT sector. Living in a globalised world where technology and digitalisation are becoming fundamental for the welfare of people, as widely demonstrated by the Covid-19 pandemic, Kosovo has already started its process of digital transition, and slowly is becoming a hub for European companies.
Last but not least, Kosovo has a vibrant community of artisans, artists, athletes, sportswomen and sportsmen, film producers and singers. These people are active both in the country and abroad, winning many awards worldwide. Only in 2021, our Kosovo Judo Federation was able to claim 2 gold medals in the Tokyo Olympics. Both Nora Gjakova and Distria Krasniqi were awarded gold in their respective categories.
Kosovo results in cinematography and film are becoming exemplary for other countries as well. In 2021 the film Hive by Blerta Basholli was the first movie to win all three main awards at the Sundance Film Festival and Displaced by Samir Karahoda won the Nonfiction Short Film Jury award at the same festival.
Therefore, my objective as the Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in the Kingdom of the Netherlands is to share our story with the people of the Netherlands, present available investment opportunities that businesses have and link our people and economies in the broadest possible terms.