It could be possible to see another country join the Eurovision family by May 2023. It comes as the national broadcaster of Kosovo – RTK – says it aims to apply for EBU membership by the end of 2022.
International stumbling blocks for Kosovo
The primary reason for which Kosovo is not represented at the Eurovision Song Contest is that its member station RTK is not a member of the EBU. To participate in a Eurovision event, the broadcaster must either be a full or an associate member of the Union. RTK has not been accepted into the EBU and as a result, there is no Kosovan presence at Eurovision events.
Speaking to the Kosovan Nacionale newspaper, RTK’s Director-General Shkumbin Ahmetxhekaj added:
RTK is an observer member of the EBU and, in this capacity, can not participate in Eurovision.Shkumbin Ahmetxhekaj, Director-General of RTK
A primary setback for RTK’s accession to the EBU is its lack of membership in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Before any application to join the EBU is considered, the broadcaster must prove it is a member of the ITU. However, to join the ITU, the broadcaster’s nation must be a recognised member of the UN. As a result, due to Kosovo’s disputed status of independence is the direct reason for being unable to join the EBU.
Possibility for Kosovo in Eurovision in the future?
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a potential path to EBU membership and thus, Eurovision participation, could be possible for RTK.
Speaking to the Nacionale newspaper, Mr Ahmetxhekaj said that Russia and Belarus – neither of which recognise Kosovo as an independent country – were the main opponents to RTK’s path to the EBU. However, following Russia and Belarus’ suspensions from the EBU and other international organisations, RTK hopes that this could clear the way to the EBU.
[Our issue] was a political problem, because membership in the UN and ITU has not been possible so far.
However, after the moves regarding the international code of Kosovo and after the exclusion of Belarus and Russia, the possibilities should be considered to find another kind of interpretation for Kosovo to join the EBU. These are projects that need to be worked on a lot, and see if we can do it later.Shkumbin Ahmetxhekaj, Director-General of RTK
Mr Ahmetxhekaj added that if RTK successfully applies for EBU membership, Eurovision will be a key priority for the broadcaster.
However, should Kosovo acede to the EBU, political tensions will increase in the Eurovision context. Of the participating countries at Eurovision 2022, ten countries have not recognised Kosovo’s unilateral independence.
Previous Kosovar presence at Eurovision
With this being said, Kosovans have graced Eurovision events before. The most notable occasion was when Kosovo was invited to join the Eurovision Young Dancers competition in 2011, held in Oslo, Norway.
Represented by Tringa Hysa, Kosovo did not advance to the final round, but the competition was broadcast on RTK, recognising the passion for Eurovision events in the country. However, it’s not just Eurovision Young Dancers that have seen Kosovar artists take to the stage.
In the history of the Contest, three acts from Kosovo have taken part. The earliest of these acts was Rona Nishliu, representing Albania, but originally from Mitrovica in the north of Kosovo. Nishliu finished in 5th place for Albania in 2012, giving the country their best result to date. Similarly, Lindita Halimi – who represented Albania at Eurovision 2017 – also hailed from Viti, in eastern Kosovo. However, unlike Nishliu, Halimi failed to qualify from the semi-final, finishing in 14th place.
However, only one Kosovar act has represented Serbia at the Eurovision Song Contest – Nevena Božović. Božović has represented Serbia on three occasions. Firstly, she came third in the Junior Contest in 2007, before going the adult Contest in 2013 as part of Moje 3 – finishing in 11th place. Her third and final appearance saw her going solo and finishing in 18th place with 89 points.
What do you make of the potential for Kosovo to debut at Eurovision? Will it happen soon or will tensions delay their participation? Who would you like to see represent Kosovo if they took to the stage? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below. Also, be sure to follow ‘That Eurovision Site’ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for all things Eurovision.
News Source: Nacionale.com
Photo Credit: BIRN / Urim Krasniqi