Destination Germany

Kosovo's Exodus

Refugees from Kosovo Detlef Heese
Many Kosovans have links to Germany and have successfully made the move there.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Kosovo is hoping to achieve E.U. membership and talks are already underway to better integrate the country.

  • Facts


    • Kosovo became independent in 2008 after years of conflict but is still not recognized by many major states.
    • It has a population of 1.7 million; up to 80,000 sought asylum in central Europe last winter.
    • Germany issues 35,000 visas a year to Kosovans.
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The new car dealership on a main road in Pristina, the capital of the Republic of Kosovo, glistens in the evening sun. The Volkswagen logo hangs over the entrance like the promise of a better consumer world. Yet there is not a single customer inside.

“Business is doing very badly this year,” said VW and Skoda dealer Baki Abdullahu. “There is a great void in our country. People aren’t expecting anything anymore.”

It’s a typical scene in Europe’s newest country.

Once part of the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008. Only after a bloody civil war, which cost thousands of lives, was the Albanian majority able to break away from their overpowering neighbor. But independence came at a high cost.

“The war destroyed many businesses, some beyond repair,” said Samir Krasniqi, president of the Kosovan-German trade association.

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