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The likelihood of Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein and Kosovo at the Eurovision Song Contest

November 21, 2023

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Around 40 countries are expected to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, including Luxembourg after an absence of 30 years. But what about a possible debut of Kosovo, Liechtenstein or Kazakhstan?

Neither of the three countries have taken part yet, although Kosovo and Kazakhstan have been broadcasting the show in recent years. Kosovo, Liechtenstein and the Vatican are the only countries in Europe that have never taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest and it is not very likely that this is going to change anytime soon. Let us find out why!

Liechtenstein

Alongside the Vatican, Liechtenstein is the only indisputably independent European state that has never participated in the Eurovision Song Contest. However, Liechtenstein has already made many attempts to participate.

Their first attempt was back in 1976, where Biggi Bachmann should have participated with the song “My little Cowboy”. Unfortunately, this song has never been released. Liechtenstein was not allowed to participate because they did not yet have their own radio station at the time. Since 2009, the Liechtenstein broadcaster 1FL TV, which was founded in 2008, has repeatedly tried to join the European Broadcasting Union, and take part in the contest some day. Liechtenstein also tried to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. On July 20, 2018 however, the European Broadcasting Union confirmed that the broadcaster had not submitted an application for membership. One week later, the broadcaster 1FL TV confirmed that they will not participate in the contest due to the sudden death of the broadcasting director Peter Kölbel.

The main issue that prevents the microstate from participating is the non-existent EBU-membership. The national  broadcaster, 1FL TV, has already confirmed that the microstate will not debut in the next year’s contest in Rotterdam. 1FL TV is still not an official member of the European Broadcasting Union, and therefore has no permission to participate neither in the Eurovision – nor in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. A further issue concerns insufficient financial requirements, which is why they ruled out previous participations.


Liechtenstein. Source: AFAR Media.

Kosovo

Although Kosovo has been broadcasted the Eurovision Song Contest live in recent years, the country is neither a member of the European Council, nor a member of the International Television Union. To become a member, they have to be part of the United Nations. This is not the case for Kosovo, but one of the key requirements to become an active member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The national broadcaster, RTK, is not an EBU member and for that reason currently not eligible to join the contest.

In 2022, the general director of RTK announced that the broadcaster would seek full EBU membership by the end of the year. If this had been successful, the broadcaster would have wanted to take part in the contest. However, in the end, Kosovo is still not a member of the International Television Union, which is crucial for an EBU membership.

Nevertheless, Kosovo is heading in the right direction with the premiere of Festivali i Këngës në RTK a month ago, which could become Kosovo’s national selection contest if it’s ever allowed to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. The neighboring country Albania is using its own, original version of Festivali i Këngës successfully as the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest.

 

Prizren, Kosovo. Source: Nations Online Project.

Kazakhstan

Apart from Australia, Kazakhstan is one country, (along with various other countries from North Africa and the Middle East,) that could participate in Eurovision due to its associate EBU membership. Australia took part in Eurovision 2015 as a one-off to mark the 60th anniversary of the contest, but in 2016, they received an extension by the EBU. There is a slight chance for Kazakhstan to debut in the contest because since 2018, it is also possible for associated EBU members to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest in case they receive an invitation by the European Broadcasting Union.

Kazakhstan has been broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest with the national broadcaster Khabar Agency since 2010. The Kazakh broadcaster is an associate member of the EBU since 2016. Furthermore, the country has been participating at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest since 2018, where they participated 5 times so far and reached 2nd place in 2019 and 2020. Because of its quality, many fans would like to see the country participating in the main contest during the next years.

 

Astana, Kazahkstan. Source: RJ Travel Agency.


Would you like to see any of the three countries debuting at Eurovision? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Photo credit: EBU

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