RTK, the national broadcaster of Kosovo, will apply for EBU membership by the end of this year. Shkumbin Ahmetxhekaj, the director general of the Kosovar broadcaster, has said so in a statement to Nacionale.
Ahmetxhekaj: The signs are positive
Before Kosovo could potentially join the European Broadcasting Union, they must first join the ITU. The International Telecommunications Union is a council with 193 member states – including all EBU broadcasters. For a country to become a member of the EBU, they must first be a member of the ITU. The ITU and the United Nations are also intertwined, meaning it has been difficult for Kosovo’s RTK to gain membership to either institution.
However, Ahmetxhekaj now claims the signs are a lot more positive after the exclusion of Belarus and Russia from the Eurovision Song Contest. He says:
After the decisions regarding the international status of Kosovo and after the exclusion of Belarus and Russia, the possibilities should be considered to find another kind of way 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.
It is a joint plan of the current management and the Board of RTK that in the coming period, maybe at the end of this year or next year, to officially apply for membership of the EBU. The chances may now have increased, following the exclusion of Belarus and Russia.Director General of RTK, Shkumbin Ahmetxhekaj to Nacionale
Kosovo and the Eurovision Song Contest
Kosovo’s desire to join the Eurovision Song Contest certainly isn’t new. Back in 2017, reports arose that RTK was aiming to join the EBU. Back then, the lack of a United Nations membership was also the issue for RTK. A new voting round to allow RTK in as member took place in June 2019, but was once again unsuccessful. RTK did however decide to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 and 2022.
Kosovo formally had its début on a Eurovision stage during Eurovision Young Dancers in 2011. Tringa Hysa then represented them. So far, that has been the only outing of Kosovo on a Eurovision stage. Currently, the Kosovar broadcaster holds observer membership to the EBU. The next step would be a full membership, which would allow them to join the EBU competitions like Eurovision.
Kosovo declared its independence back in 2008, but has failed to gain sufficient international recognition to join the United Nations, ITU or EBU. Currently, only 97 out of 193 UN members states support the independence of Kosovo from Serbia.
Do you think Shkumbin Ahmetxhekaj is right to think that the EBU will allow Kosovo to join the contest next year? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, make sure you follow us on Spotify for the latest music from your favourite Eurovision acts.