EBU decided to stick with Belgrade as the host city. They believe that with the extra security RTS has guaranteed there wont be any problems in helding the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade – despite the current situation with Kosovo.
Previously reported today:
The news that many ESC fans have feared for the last few days has seemed to materialise. The EBU, while appearing firm on Belgrade being the 2008 host city just a few days ago, is now less certain that the city will be able to fulfil it’s hosting duties.
The EBU reference group will hold a extraordinary meeting this morning on the subject of whether it would be a feasible option to move the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest at this late date. Gylleneskor.se reports that Svante Stckselius remains tight lipped on the prospect of a change of city but Misa Molke, who is a member of the EBU’s Eurovision reference group, stated on Slovenian state television that there would be an emergency telephone conference this morning.
For those of you with tickets and accommodation we would like to assure you that while this news comes from secure sources there has been no official decision to move the 2008 contest yet. The meeting is only to discuss the need to change venue considering the recent violent demonstrations in the Serbian capital.
Possible alternative cities may already be on alert to host the contest. The most likely country that would be asked to host the competition at such short notice would be Sweden. In 2005 with the ‘Orange revolution’ there were worries that a change of host city was on the cards and while it fortunately became a peaceful revolution the city of Malmo had been put on standby to take over the contest.
This has all come about due to Kosovo’s recent declaration of independence from Serbia. Kosovo was a state in the south of Serbia which was made up of approximately 90% ethnic Albanians. While the vast majority of Serbians see Kosovo as the heart of Serbia it has actually been run by the UN for the last 9 years. After UN sponsored talks failed to reach a consensus late last year, the Kosovan provisional government declared independence from Serbia on the 17th of February. Since then there has been major demonstrations by the Serbian people on the streets of Belgrade. The EBU stood firm on it’s assurances that the 2008 contest would indeed take place in Serbia, but that was before violent attacks by mobs on the US embassy in Belgrade last night. The remains of one charred body was found inside the embassy. The attacks were seen as retaliation for the USA recognising Kosovo as a state.
While nothing has yet been decided it must also be remembered that the Serbian national Eurovision preselection, Beovizija, was already postponed and that the Eurovision may face relocation. The UK, USA and many other major European nations have already recognised Kosovo as a state. This may lead to one of the most politically charged Eurovision Song Contests since the competition took place in Kyiv in 2005.
In my view
People who have accomodation booked in Belgrade need not worry yet, but if the violence in Belgrade doesn’t soon calm down the EBU may have no other choice than to move the contest.The opinion expressed in "In my view" are those of the author and are not necessarily the one of EuroVisionary.com.