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Kosovo’s hopes of Eurovision 2018 debut reportedly dashed by EBU

For a few years now, the possibility of seeing Kosovo make their Eurovision Song Contest debut has been on the minds of many Eurovision fans. Indeed, Kosovo’s national broadcaster RTK have been insistent in proclaiming their desire to participating in Europe’s favourite entertainment show. However, it looks like Kosovo won’t be joining the Eurovision Song Contest family just yet…

As much support as there is opposition

Despite RTK’s optimism that they would be allowed to participate in Lisbon, yesterday the EBU denied such claims. Indeed, according to Presheva Jonë, any confirmation of Kosovan participation in a future Eurovision Song Contest would be made first on the official website of the EBU and its partners. Furthermore, the report states that despite this, Kosovo’s Eurovision participation is receiving just as much support as it is opposition in the EBU headquarters in Geneva.

Statement to

Over at, their team have contacted the Director-General at RTK for an update from their side of the saga. The Director-General, Mentor Shala, responded to’s questions with the following statement:

RTK has responded to all EBU requests for its participation in ESC. Last year the Reference Group for ESC gave a positive opinion of Kosovo’s participation in ESC but under one condition if the host is a country that has recognized Kosovo’s independence. Since Ukraine did not recognize Kosovo’s independence, we did not have the opportunity to participate in ESC.

After Portugal’s victory in Ukraine, we were sure we would take part in ESC as Portugal has recognized Kosovo’s independence. The Reference Group again gave a positive opinion of Kosovo’s participation in ESC for 2018. We also applied formally and had many references from many organizations that supported us in this regard. And we were very confident that the news would be positive. But we were very surprised when a letter from EBU came to us telling us that Kosovo for the moment cannot participate in ESC because it is not a member of the UN.

This is an absurd reason when we consider that Kosovo is admitted to all Federations and other world organizations such as UEFA, FIFA, FIBA, WB, Olimpic Games, IMF, ABU, etc etc. We know that Kosovo cannot be accepted as a full member of the EBU without being a member of the UN and we did not ask for such a thing. We just wanted to sing at ESC!

It’s not at all fair and there is no reason to block a country to attend a song festival like ESC. We are very sorry that a non-political organization like the EBU is politically acting in the case of Kosovo. We will not stop in our efforts to participate in ESC and I am very sure we will achieve our goal.

Kosovo has participated in a Eurovision event before

Kosovo has participated in a Eurovision event once before when RTK selected Tringa Hysa to participate at the 2011 Eurovision Young Dancers competition. However, to participate at the Eurovision Song Contest, broadcasters must have full EBU member status. RTK has yet to be accepted as a full member as Kosovo is neither a member of the Council of Europe or the International Telecommunications Union.
Nevertheless, the EBU have stated before that the Reference Group can make exceptions to the rules on a “case-by-case basis”. Of course, this was the provision made to allow Australia to participate in the contest. Therefore, perhaps Kosovo could be admitted into the contest in the near future without full EBU membership. However, this would likely depend on support from all of the major players in Eurovision.

Noted opposition to Kosovan participation

Spain currently does not recognise Kosovo as an independent nation. Therefore, with Spain being one of the biggest contributors to the financing of the contest, it is likely that they would be a key stumbling block to Kosovan participation. In addition, both Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia have opposed such a move according to Eurovoix.
Do you think Kosovo should be allowed to debut in Eurovision 2018? Furthermore, which Kosovan artists would you like to see take to the stage? Let us know in the comments below!

Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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