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Kosovo: Process of adoption of the flag

Last modified: 2019-11-01 by ivan sache
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The three finalists

[Flag proposal]         [Flag proposal]         [Flag proposal]

Finalist flag proposals - Images by Jan-Patrick Fischer, 9 February 2008

Wikipedia shows the three finalist designs.
Mentor Shala and Besnik Nuli, ethnic Albanians, are the designers of the first proposal. The European Union-styled flag has only five stars, the one on the top is bigger. Shala mentioned in an interview (no longer available) it is representing the majority of Albanians.
The second proposal, vertically divided black-white-red, was designed by Valon Syla.
There is no designer credited for the third proposal, which is similar to the previous proposal, but with a black spiral added in the middle of the white stripe.

Jan-Patrick Fischer, 9 February 2008

Quoting The Christian Science Monitor, 8 February 2008:

After months of drafting, senior officials in the Kosovo government have said that the constitution upon which the new state will rest is almost complete, and they have short-listed designs for the flag and emblem.
The short list was supposed to be kept secret, but a source close to the Kosovo Symbols Commission, tasked with choosing the flag, described the final three designs that are to be presented to the parliament for selection. The first, according to the source, is an outline of a map of Kosovo on a blue background, with yellow stars representing the aspiring state's ambition of eventual membership in the European Union. The second is a simple tricolor of red, white, and black vertical stripes. The third design is identical, but carries a spiral motif on the white segment.
The three designs have been whittled down from almost 1,000 entries in a public competition launched last year.
The competition attracted entries from as far as New Zealand and South Africa. There were even seven entries from Serbia.
The parliament will be presented with the designs, one of which must secure two-thirds of a parliamentary vote to be adopted. The new national flag and emblem are expected to be revealed on the day the province declares independence from Serbia.

Dean Thomas, 8 February 2008

Quoting New Kosova Report, 6 February 2008:

Newspapers in Kosovo reported today that three proposals for the future flag of Kosovo and two for the emblem have made the shortlist and will be voted by the Kosovo Assembly.
The flag will not bear any national symbols, will not have an eagle on it, but it could have a white map of Kosovo set against a blue background, and it could be a tricolor flag with a horizontal or vertical alignment.
Mentor Shala and Besnik Nuli, ethnic Albanians, are among the finalists and proposed a Kosovo map in white on a blue background, surrounded by five stars.
The symbols are expected to be approved by the Kosovo Assembly after the declaration of independence.

[Flag proposal]

"Finalist" flag proposal - Image by Jan-Patrick Fischer, 7 February 2008

The article is accompanied by an illustration of a flag approximating the report's "Kosovo map in white on a blue background, surrounded by five stars", except there is a European Union style ring of stars.

Jan Oskar Engene, 6 February 2008

The process of selection by the committee

Euronews shows a video footage (no longer online) of the flag and seal commission going through designs for the Kosovo flag.
In the several brief scenes from the work of 12-members commission of the symbols that supposedly until yesterday had to come up with three final proposals for the discussion in the Parliament, there are several proposals to be seen on the table.

[Flag proposal]         [Flag proposal]

Flag proposals considered by the commission - Images (reconstructions) by Željko Heimer, 17 February 2008

In the first scene we see 10 sheets of A4 containing coloured printing of the flag proposals (as required by the contest), however four of them seems to contain identical or nearly identical design - namely the vertical tricolour of black-white-red - or red-white-black, it is hard to say, if any of the drawings included the flag staff this was not visible on the low quality footage - or they meant to represent both versions as proposals. This design was proposed to Valon Syla in the Kosovo Art Gallery exhibition, but it does not mean that he sent those; such a design could have easily been sent independently by more than one contestant.

[Flag proposal]

Flag proposal considered by the commission - Image by Željko Heimer (reconstruction), 17 February 2008

Two next sheets were also the same or nearly the same - displaying a design obviously influenced by the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina - a flag descending diagonal divided red and black flag by a thin white descending diagonal and with a series of white five-pointed stars in the black part along the diagonal (the number of stars in the design is impressionistic, of course).

[Flag proposal]         [Flag proposal]

Flag proposals considered by the commission - Images (reconstructions) by Željko Heimer, 17 February 2008

Of the two remaining designs, one is a dark blue flag with a white map of Kosovo in the middle. A similar design, but with the map inscribed within 12 yellow five-pointed stars was proposed by Besnik Nuli in the Kosovo Art Gallery exhibition. The other is horizontally divided of red-black-white (or vice versa).

[Flag proposal]

Flag proposal considered by the commission - Image by Željko Heimer, 17 February 2008

The next scene pauses for a bit longer over a single design - a blue flag with three black raising diagonals and over all a red disk surrounded with 31 (if I counted correctly) red five-pointed stars (presumably, possibly dots or some other shapes) and with the depiction of the figurine known as the "Dardanian idol", originating from 3500 BC and preserved in the Museum of Kosovo. In this design the idol is depicted in its full height, not only the head as used per Zake Prelvukaj in her proposals.

[Flag proposal]

Flag proposal considered by the commission - Image (reconstruction) by Željko Heimer, 17 February 2008

The design seen in the next scene is hardly discernible - it seems to be a white flag with a thin red line along the top, and what appears to be a black part of that stripe being at the hoist. The lower edge of the flag is hardly visible, so possibly there the stripe is blue, or there is none. In the middle of the flag is some dark blue emblem, possibly the "Dardanian idol" face.

[Flag proposal]

Flag proposal considered by the commission - Image (reconstruction) by Željko Heimer, 17 February 2008

The clip then includes a brief statement by Fadil Hysa, "Head of Symbols Commission" and then again a scene of the table with the proposals, where, beside the ten above mentioned sheets, are now visible a bunch of scattered sheets - at least six, probably eight or ten more. Among those, there is only one design that I can make out to any level of certainity, the one closest to the camera, being with five horizontal stripes, red-white-black-white-red, probably of equal width.

Dean Thomas & Željko Heimer, 6 February 2008

The official contest

The Courrier des Balkans website gives the French translation of a paper originally published on 3 February by Jeton Musliu in Gazeta Express (Priština).
The article refers to point 1.7 of the proposal made by Marti Ahtisaari, stating that "Kosovo shall have its own national symbols, including a flag, an emblem and an anthem reflecting its multiethnical charadter". Accordingly, Musliu claims that the black double-headed eagle representing the Albanians, the wheel representing the Roms, the four firesteels representing the Serbs and the white eagle representing the Ashkali should be used on the flag, as well as a symbol for the Turkish minority. This should also be true for the emblem and the anthem.
Since 1999, the MINUK has officially registered the Albanians, the Serbs, the Roms, the Ashkali, the Egyptians and the Turks as ethnical groups living in Kosovo. Zylfhi Merxha, President of the Kosovo Rom Party, said that his community has not decided what to do yet, but would ask to have a specific element on the flag if the other commnities ask too. Oliver Ivanović, a Serb leader, said it was a bit too early to think about symbols. Gëzim Gashi, the leader of the Ashkalin says that the possible elements to be placed on the flag has not been discussed yet.
The Science and Arts Academy of Kosovo announced it had designed national symbols before Ahtisaari's plan was made public. The member of the academy Bseim Bokshi said that the Kosovo Assembly will launch a call for other proposals, adding that "the flag shall not use other colours than red and black".
The MINUK administrator Joachim Rücker promised that no symbol would be imposed from outside as it was the case in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Other proposals have been made. President Rugova presented a design, as did the Americano-Albanian former Congressman (Rep., New York) Joseph J. DioGuardi.

Ivan Sache, 15 February 2007

The competition for Kosovo flag and emblem was officially announced on 13 June 2007 and is open until 27 June 2007.
The competion announcement is available on the website of the Assembly of Kosovo.


The competition for Kosovo's flag and emblem is open to all those interested, without restrictions.
Entrants should bear in mind that the people of Kosovo should be able to identify with their flag and emblem. Accordingly, the flag and emblem should reflect a commitment to a common future in a spirit of respect and tolerance in Kosovo.

Flag and emblem competition
Flag and emblem entries will be accepted provided they arrive within and not beyond the deadline set in this announcement and that they fully comply with the regulations contained within this announcement.

Criteria for Proposals to Determine the Flag and Emblem of Kosovo
Participants in the competition are encouraged to submit proposals for a flag and emblem of Kosovo that:
- Are simple in design and color scheme, without words, slogans, or mottos;
- Are unique and original;
- Are easily recognisable; and
- Reflect the aspirations of the people of Kosovo for integration into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions.

Any submission must adhere to the spirit and letter of the Comprehensive Proposal for Kosovo Status Settlement.
To comply with the Comprehensive Settlement Proposal in specific terms, all submissions:
- Must not represent or approximate the flag or 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;
- Must not utilize the representation of any eagle symbol, particularly with regard to such depictions in the symbols of other states; and
- Must not solely utilize red and black color schemes, or red, white and blue color schemes.
The flag should be rectangular and of the proportions of 2:3.

The following regulations for the flag and emblem competition apply:
Competition entries must be submitted in a sealed envelope as follows:
- Flag and emblem designs in full color on an A4 sheet of paper (only one flag or emblem design per sheet). The design may be drawn by hand or using a computer. Name and contact details must not be written on these sheets.
- A separate A4 sheet of paper containing the following information:
first and last name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth of the entrant, as well as a reduced copy of the submitted flag and emblem design on the same sheet, placed inside a separate closed envelope and sent together with the flag or symbol design to which it refers.
- A declaration by the entrant as follows: "This is my own work. I authorize the selection committee to publish or display the design both during and after the competition. If my design is selected, I authorize its use as the flag and emblem of Kosovo without claims for royalties or other remuneration, apart from the rewards that are contained within this announcement."
If more than one design is submitted, each individual design must be shown on a separate A4 sheet. The designer's name and contact details must be clearly marked on one or more additional A4 sheets together with reductions of all designs submitted, placed inside separate closed envelopes.
Flag and emblem designs may be accompanied by a brief description (no more than 150 words) of the rationale behind the concept, written on a separate sheet of paper in any of the official languages of Kosovo (English is one of the official languages of Kosovo in addition to Albanian and Serbian).

Once an entry has been submitted, it becomes the property of the competition commission. Thereafter the entrant(s) may not publish, show or use the design in any public display until after the competition has been finalized and flag and emblem selected. Failure to comply with this regulation may result in immediate disqualification.
The three proposals that are selected will be awarded:
- 1st place: 10 000 €
- 2nd place: 7 000 €
- 3rd place: 5 000 €
The competition organizers will not accept responsibility or liability for any legal action arising from the submission of plagiarized materials, or otherwise arising from the conduct of the competition.
Entries for both competitions must be received no later than 5:00 PM on June 27, 2007. Competition entries may be delivered in person from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM or by posted mail [...]
Applications sent electronically will not be accepted in order to preserve confidentiality.
The competition will remain open 15 days from the date of publication of the announcement.

Alban Sylaj & Željko Heimer, 17 June 2007