The Federal Cabinet has decided to continue the Bundeswehr mission in Kosovo. Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit announced on Wednesday that participation in the NATO-led KFOR mission would continue with a maximum of 400 soldiers.

In view of the relatively quiet situation, there are currently only around 70 emergency services on site. Hebestreit emphasized, however, that with a view to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the sustained stabilization of the western Balkans is “of great geostrategic interest”.

Participation in KFOR is the Bundeswehr’s oldest deployment abroad. German soldiers have been stationed in Kosovo since June 1999. In principle, the Kosovo mission is unlimited in time. In 2020, however, the federal government had promised that it would refer the matter to the German Bundestag every twelve months. This will now take place in the coming weeks.

The KFOR mission has been responsible for security and stability in Kosovo since 1999. The mission is based on UN Resolution 1244, which was passed after the Kosovo war. According to NATO, a total of almost 3,800 soldiers from 28 countries are currently serving in Kosovo. According to Hebestreit, there is still “a potential for conflict and escalation”, especially in the north of Kosovo.

To this day, Serbia does not recognize the independence of Kosovo, which was declared in 2008 and has a majority of ethnic Albanians. The European Union has been trying to mediate between the two sides for many years – and is also tempting with the prospect of EU membership. Serbia is already a candidate for EU membership, and Brussels lists Kosovo as a possible candidate.