Kosovo Opens Contest for Design of National Flag, Emblem

June 13, 2007
Pristina _ Kosovo`s Unity Team, made up of top politicians charged with resolving the region’s status, on Wednesday announced an international competition to design Kosovo`s eventual national flag and emblem.

A commission created by the Unity Team said the flag and emblem must have a simple design and colour scheme without words, slogans or mottos. The symbols of statehood must be “unique and original, easily recognizable and reflect the aspirations of the people of Kosovo for integration into Europe and Euro-Atlantic institutions,” the published criteria said.

“In specific terms, all submissions must not represent or approximate the flag or any emblem of any state, or the flag or emblem of any political party, movement or institution of Kosovo, or imply any allegiance to any ethnic community of Kosovo,” said the statement issued by the Unity Team .

“It must not utilize the representation of any eagle symbol, particularly with regard to such depictions in the symbol of other states and must not utilize red and black colour schemes or red, white and blue colour schemes” it goes on.

That detail seeks to make a Kosovo national flag distinct from either neighboring Albania or Serbia.

Albania’s flag shows a black, double-headed eagle in the center of a red field. Serbia’s national flag has three equal horizontal stripes of red, blue and white and a coat of arms that includes a white, double-headed eagle.

Kosovo is about 90 percent ethnic Albanian but remains formally part of Serbia. The United Nations has administered Kosovo since 1999, when NATO ended attacks launched to stop alleged ethnic cleansing of Kosovo’s Albanian population by Serbia.

A UN plan for Kosovo’s independence drafted by special envoy Martti Ahtisaari has been blocked by Russia, a permanent member of the a U.N. Security Council, and was rejected by Serbia. The proposal is supported by the US and EU member countries of the UN Security Council.

According to Ahtisaari’s plan, Kosovo’s future flag, seal and anthem must reflect its multi-ethnic character.

All individuals are eligible to propose designs in the international competition. The top choice will receive an award of 10,000 euros, the second-place design will receive 7,000 euros and the third choice will win 5,000 euros.