(AFP) – Jan 24, 2008
BRUSSELS (AFP) — The EU is considering whether last year's Eurovision song contest winner Marija Serifovic should be allowed to continue in her role as an intercultural ambassador due to her nationalist leanings.
Serifovic won the annual Eurovision contest in Helsinki last year with her song Molitva (Prayer). She was subsequently chosen as one of 15 international ambassadors to represent The European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008, alongside veteran French crooner Charles Aznavour, French rapper Abd Al Malik and Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coelho.
But more recently it has been Serifovic's links with Tomislav Nikolic, the eurosceptic nationalist candidate of the Serbian Radical Party, which has caught the European Commission's attention.
"Any of the ambassadors are of course free to have political convictions whatever they may be," John Macdonald, a spokesman for the EU's executive on cultural issues told AFP.
"There is a problem if the activities of any of the ambassadors turn out to be incompatible with the stated aims of the European Year for Intercultural Dialogue, which is basically about promoting mutual understanding and a sense of belonging to the European Union".
Macdonald said the European Commission was alerted to this issue by its head of delegation in Serbia.
"Evidently their media monitoring service in the office there noted that she had been vocally supportive of the Serbian Radical Party," he said, adding that Brussels was looking into the matter.
Nikolic, who won the first round of the Serbian presidential elections last Sunday, has vowed that Serbia will only join the EU as an integral state, meaning with its breakaway province of Kosovo included.
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, during a trip to Brussels on Thursday, said that a declaration on Kosovo's independence was just days away.
Nikolic, who favours closer ties with Russia, won 39.99 percent of the first-round vote compared with pro-European incumbent Boris Tadic's 35.39 percent.
The two fierce rivals will go head-to-head in a run-off on February 3.
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