Will Kosovo finally get an invitation to participate at Eurovision? We could know later this year. After years of theories, rising hopes and at least one instance of overconfidence, Kosovo broadcaster RTK reports that they have been in discussions with the European Broadcasting Union.
Mentor Shala, director general of RTK, represented the broadcaster and met with Jean-Paul Philippot, the director general of the EBU, during which they discussed further co-operation between the two bodies and the possibility of extending full membership for Kosovo in the EBU.
Early reports suggested that Kosovo’s membership would be decided by a vote held by the EBU’s General Assembly. However, a fansite contacted the EBU and asked for clarification on the proposed vote. The EBU responded:
“RTK currently does not meet the criteria for full EBU membership but it was agreed at the EBU General Assembly in Tirana (June 29) that constructive discussions will continue between the EBU and RTK about future possibilities for closer co-operation.”
RTK is currently not eligible for full EBU membership as Kosovo is not a member of the International Telecommunications Union.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. However, its status is still disputed internationally and in diplomatic practice. Extreme tensions — political and territorial — exist between the Serbian government and the Albanian leadership of the Assembly of Kosovo. One manifestation of these tensions was the Kosovo War, which lasted from the end of 1998 until the middle of 1999.
A number of states whose broadcasters are EBU members do not recognise Kosovo as an independent country. As well as Serbia, this includes Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Moldova, Morocco, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Tunisia and Ukraine.
Since Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, its broadcaster has made it a goal to become part of the EBU and join the Eurovision family. Although it doesn’t have those rights, it did manage to participate in Eurovision Young Dancers in 2011.
The EBU’s response suggests that while full membership of the EBU is still off limits for RTK, it may be possible for them to be involved in some aspects of the EBU’s member services. And as fans are speculating, this could mean participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Kosovars have competed in the competition before, albeit for other countries. Recent examples include Rona Nishliu for Albania in 2012, Lindita Halimi for Albania in 2017 and Kosovo-born Serbian singer Nevena Božović as part of Moje 3 for Serbia in 2013.
What do you think? Should RTK be allowed to compete at Eurovision? Who would you like to see sing for Kosovo? Share your thoughts below!
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