The Scoop

No changes approved in EBU statutes: Kosovo cannot apply for full membership

Is this the end for Kosovo's Eurovision hopes?

Earlier this week it was reported to us by the EBU that on the agenda for the 82nd EBU General Assembly in Olso, Norway was a vote for changes to the current EBU statutes. Thus any approved changes could see the Kosovo broadcaster RTK apply for full membership status. However during today’s voting it has been revealed that no changes have been made and Kosovo still cannot apply for full EBU membership.

RTK’s EBU status remains unchanged

This week the EBU’s annual General Assembly is currently taking place. This meeting allows attendees and representatives from each national broadcaster to vote on changes that would be beneficial to the broadcasting region, as well as possible expansion. One such topic of contention has always been Kosovan broadcaster RTK’s yearly plight to obtain full EBU membership. Thus also being able to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Today that hope has been dashed another blow. On the agenda was a decision to remove the criteria which required EBU members to be part of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Of course this is also a condition of being a member of the United Nations. As it stands, Kosovo does not have UN status. So removing the ITU requirement would have allowed the national broadcaster RTK to bypass these stipulations and apply for full EBU membership.

During the meeting numerous member countries, including Cyprus, Greece, Serbia and Spain called for a secret vote. This request was granted by the EBU. Therefore the final result was issued in secret. The results of which were 400 in favour, 673 against and 113 abstained. Thus any broadcaster applying for EBU membership must be part of the ITU and by extension the UN. At this time it means we won’t be seeing Kosovo debut at the 2020 contest in The Netherlands.

What next for Kosovo?

Although the door is currently closed at this time for RTK to apply for full EBU membership and participate in Eurovision, circumstances can still change. Every year the General Assembly convenes where votes on new regulations which could effect broadcasters, including RTK’s current standing with the EBU. Kosovo could in future join the ITU and the UN. However nations such as Spain and Serbia do not recognise Kosovo’s independence and thus this remains a stumbling block both for UN and EBU membership applications. Another option is to join the Council of Europe, which has been put forward in the past.

Furthermore the EBU could at any time choose to invite the RTK to the contest. There has been a precedent for this with RTK taking part in the 2011 edition of Eurovision Young Dancers. This ruling has allowed Australia (SBS) and Kazakhstan (Khabar Agency) to take part in Eurovision events.

What do you think of this decision? Do you want to see Kosovo take part in the contest? Let us know in the comments and on social media @ESCXTRA

Lisa Bird

My first Eurovision memory was watching 1994 as a hatchling. I've been tapping my talons to the bops and bangers from Europe and beyond ever since! I finally spread my wings to attending the contest in Lisbon 2018 and am now a regular at many events and national finals - especially my regular nest at Eesti Laul.

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