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Kosovo parliament approves new national anthem

BELGRADE, June 11 (RIA Novosti) - Kosovo's parliament has approved a national anthem just days before the country's landmark Constitution comes into force, local media said on Wednesday.

The composition entitled "Europe" by Mehdi Mengjiqi, which has no lyrics and respects the multi-ethnic make up of Kosovo, won the backing of 72 MPs. The winner will receive 10,000 euros ($15,500) as a prize.

Three anthems out of 130 entries were shortlisted in a competition, which was launched following Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17, and the world's newest country adopted a national emblem and flag containing six white stars to represent each community.

Kosovo had previously used Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as its national anthem during official ceremonies, while the majority of Kosovar Albanians sang the national Albanian anthem.

The new country's Constitution, which was approved by parliament in April, will come into force on June 15.

The province's sovereignty has so far been formally recognized by over 40 countries, including the U.S. and most EU nations. Russia and China back Belgrade's position that Kosovo must remain a part of Serbia.

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