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RTK director general accuses Serbian broadcaster of EBU membership sabotage

A few weeks ago, the 82nd EBU General Assembly was held in Oslo. Collectively, the assembly decided not to change the rules to the unions statutes. Any changes could have seen the Kosovo broadcaster RTK apply for full membership status lack of change was e was a vote for changes to the current EBU statutes. 

During the meeting seventeen member countries, including Cyprus, Greece, Serbia and Spain called for a secret vote, which was granted. This request was granted by the EBU. The results of which were as follows:

  • In favour of statute change: 400
  • Against: 673
  • Abstained: 113

Sabotage?

Ngadhnjim Kastrati, director general of RTK, expressed disappointment with new situation in an evening interview with the channel.

He paid homage to Mentor Shala, former director to the channel, who started the ball rolling with Kosovo becoming a full EBU member. Shala initially found signatories of five broadcasters which would be used to support the changes allowing Kosovo to apply:

  • HRT – Croatia
  • MTVA – Hungary
  • MRT – North Macedonia
  • RTCG – Montenegro
  • RTVSLO – Slovenia

According to Serbian broadcaster RTS, the above member broadcasters have been preparing to change the statute for at least 18 months… However of the five, Hungarian broadcaster MTVA withdrew just before the vote took place.

Given the timing, Kastrari suggests foul play was at work. He asserts that Serbian authorities contacted all the embassies, including those known to be against allowing Kosovo becoming a member of the EBU, to shore up support in order to reject any changes.

While the vote was a secret ballot, Kastrari states that the BBC and TRT respectively were for amending the EBU statute. Meanwhile, broadcasters from Spain, Greece, Romania, Cyprus and Algeria were against any change.


He ended the interview by thanking EBU directors for their commitment to reassess the current regulations, reiterating that RTK can still become an EBU member in the future.

Glimmer of hope?

As it stands, Kosovo will not be participating in a Eurovision event in the near future. However, there are glimmers for hope. The EBU choose to invite the RTK to the contest as a ‘guest’ – which could bypass some issues. 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. Similarly, there is nothing stopping acts from Kosovo participating on behalf of other countries.

Rona Nishliu, who was born in Mitrovica and raised in Pristina represented Albania in 2012

However, given the recency of current events, and several regular participating countries do not currently recognise the independence of Kosovo. Therefore, option this seems highly unlikely, and virtually impossible without controversy.

What do you think of this decision? Do you want to see Kosovo take part in the contest?  Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! 

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