Natural resources, energy and environment
Kosovo is rich in natural resources. In the country, among other things, there are the world’s fifth largest deposits of lignite, and coal accounts for almost the entire electricity supply. Coal burning poses a serious environmental problem.
An important mineral is also halloysite, a clay mineral used in porcelain production. Lead, zinc, chromium and bauxite are also extracted.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Kosovo with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Electricity supply is substandard and power outages are common. Two coal power plants built between 1965 and 1975 account for almost the entire electricity generation. They are said to be two of the three most polluting coal power plants in Europe. Attempts to replace them have been made for a long time but funding is lacking. The large, debt-burdened electricity company KEK has received some investments in new equipment and privatized the distribution network, but much more would be required to cover energy needs in the country in the long term. It is common for people to connect illegally on the electricity networks or simply fail to pay the electricity bills.
An agreement was concluded at the end of 2017 with American companies to build a third coal-fired power plant, close to the two existing ones.
As part of the EU-Serbia agreement with Serbia, an agreement was signed in 2015 on energy distribution in / to the country, but it is not agreed who owns the assets in Kosovo.
The environmental problems are great, not least around the power plants located near Prishtina. The air pollution in the capital has at one time been so severe that the authorities have been forced to temporarily ban private cars and the sale of coal for burning in the homes. The waste disposal is also inadequate and problems exist with both illegal dumping and dumps that leak and poison the groundwater.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, KS stands for Kosovo. Visit itypeusa for more information about Kosovo.
In 2013, the World Bank estimated that the pollution costs the country equivalent to just over 5 percent of the gross domestic product. The environment is not yet a priority policy area.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
1 213 kilos of oil equivalents (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
2804 kWh, kWh (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
20.5 percent (2015)
Joint border guard with Serbia
The Serbian roadblocks are starting to be cleared away after an agreement on joint border guarding has been negotiated between Kosovo and Serbia. The government stops a proposal by Parliament to introduce a trade embargo on Serbia.
Noises in Mitrovica
A rift between Albanians and Serbs in Mitrovica leads to gunfire. A Serb is killed and a civilian and a policeman injured. In addition, a large number of Kfor soldiers and Serbs are mildly injured when the peace force tries in vain to remove a road barrier between Mitrovica and Jarinje at the border with Serbia.
Continued unrest at the border
Serbian residents of Mitrovica block off roads and bridges to prevent the deployment of Kosovo police and customs officials. The government of Serbia believes that the agreement only provides green light for imports of goods from Kosovo, not for staffing border stations. Belgrade turns to the EU and the UN to argue its cause. When NATO troops try to clear the roadblocks, they are met by resistance from local Serbs, who set up 18 different barricades. The Serbs then remove the blockades, partly to open for NATO soldiers, but still prevent Kosovo officials from entering.
Trade agreement with Serbia
An agreement is reached that allows goods to be exported from Kosovo to Serbia for the first time since independence was proclaimed in 2008. Serbia agrees to allow imports of goods stamped with “Kosovo Customs”, while Kosovo agrees to refrain from using symbols such as weapons and flag, or the word “republic,” on the stamps.
Worried about the border with Serbia
During the summer, Kosovo decides to ban imports from Serbia in response to the ongoing Serbian import embargo from Kosovo. When special police take over two border crossings towards Serbia, tensions increase along the border where many Serbs live. Enraged Serbs set fire to a border post, and a police officer is killed in the riots. The NATO-led force Kfor resumes surveillance in the area, and the two border crossings are closed until further notice.
Serbia agrees to accept Kosovan ID documents for border crossing and to give Kosovo access to the population register which was brought to Belgrade in 1999. It is also decided to recognize diplomas from the respective countries’ universities.
Negotiations trigger unrest
The ongoing negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia trigger violence in the capital Prishtina. Hundreds of people attack a government office with stones in protest of the city being visited by a Serbian government negotiator. Police use tear gas to disperse the mass, and several people are injured.
EU-led negotiations Kosovo-Serbia
For the first time, Kosovo and Serbia are launching negotiations with the EU in order to reach some kind of agreement.
New president – again
Kosovo’s Supreme Court unlawfully declines the February election of Behgjet Pacolli as president, due to a break in the polls. Pacolli defies the court and declares that he intends to remain. The Constitutional Court temporarily intervenes and transfers the office of President to Parliament President Jakup Krasniqi. Just three days after Krasniqi’s accession, the parliament convenes for an extra session, electing the 36-year-old Deputy Police Chief Atifete Jahjaga as its regular president. She has no previous political experience and is again affiliated with any party. Her name had been shared by all the leading parties in common. The parties also agree to change the constitution and the electoral laws so that in the future the president will be elected by the people.
Controversial president is appointed
At the same time as Hashim Thaçi is approved as prime minister for a new term, Parliament elected Behgjet Pacolli as new president. Pacolli, who is said to be Kosovo’s richest man, has been criticized for his dealings with Russia, which is Serbia’s ally. Pacolli’s Swiss group has participated in the renovation of the Kremlin and is accused of bribing the Russian regime. When Pacolli is elected president, large parts of the opposition boycott the vote in parliament.