After the end of the war in 1999, Kosovo was administered by the UN (Security Council resolution 1244/1999). UN-Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari’s (deputy: Ambassador Albert Rohan, former Secretary General of the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs) proposal for a solution of Kosovo’s status envisaged sovereignty monitored by the International Community. The Ahtisaari-Plan included measures for the protection of minorities, cultural heritage and religious sites. While Pristina agreed to the proposal, Belgrade dismissed it.
After mediation efforts by the troika EU-Russia-USA (chaired by the German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger) between Belgrade and Pristina remained unsuccessful, Kosovo declared its independence on 17 February 2008.
75 states (22 of them being members of the European Union) have recognized the independence of Kosovo. Within the European Union, only Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Slovakia and Romania have not recognized its independence. Austria recognized Kosovo’s independence on 28 February 2008 and established diplomatic relations on 20 March 2008. Austria is represented in Pristina by an Embassy. Serbia considers the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo a violation of International Law and called upon the ICJ for a recommendation on the issue. However the court ruled, on the 22nd of July 2010, that Kosovo’s declaration of independence was not a breach of international law. Serbia and the EU jointly drafted a UN- general assembly resolution, on September 9th 2010, which accepts the verdict of the ICJ and calls for a dialogue, facilitated by the EU, between the parties. Since March 2011, Pristina and Belgrad have engaged in an EU supervised dialogue hosted in Brussels.
Kosovo’s constitution entered into force on 15 June 2008 which led to a significant transfer of competences to Kosovo’s institutions. While the UN-mission UNMIK continues to exist, the European Union reinforced its presence. EULEX (the European Union Rule of Law Mission), established in February 2008, became fully operational in March 2009. With its staff of 1,900 international security, justice and customs experts as well as 1,100 local staff it is the biggest civilian mission in the history of the European Union. Since February 2008 the Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith holds the position of Special Representative of the European Union as well as the position of International Civilian Representative (ICR). It is the ICR’s task to supervise the implementation of the provisions of the Ahtisaari-Plan.