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Belgrade Unrest: Eurovision Song Contest Back to Finland?

Unrest that has broken out in the Serb capital Belgrade has cast a shadow over this year's Eurovision Song Contest. The European Broadcasting Union meets next month to discuss whether or not the contest can be held in Belgrade as planned. If not, the contest could go to Finland, last year's host country.

Kjell Ekholm, the Finnish member on the EBU Eurovision reference group, underscores that the decision on a possible change of venue will be made by the EBU, if the situation in Serbia escalates. This means that the contest could be held again in Helsinki, which has the most recent experience in hosting the massive event.

The previous time that a venue change for the contest was considered was in 2005, when there were concerns over political unrest in the host city, the Ukrainian capital Kiev. The contest was nevertheless held in Kiev, as planned.

On Thursday hundreds of thousands of people took part in protests in Belgrade against the declaration of independence by Kosovo. In rioting that took place in connection with the protests, a fire was set at the United States Embassy.

Serbia has threatened to withdraw its ambassadors from countries that recognise Kosovo's independence. Such a move could be seen to jeopardise the security of Eurovision guests from the countries in question, if the unrest continues in May, when the contest is scheduled to be held.