"Despite the challenging economic situation in Europe a healthy number of public broadcasters are committed to the long-standing tradition that the contest has become" says Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Supervisor of the contest at the EBU.
Since 2004, between 36 and 43 broadcasters have taken part in the contest and 39 participants brings the number of participants to the same level as Oslo 2010 when the contest took place in Norway.
Bosnia & Herzegovina (BHRT), Portugal (RTP), Turkey (TRT) and Slovakia (STV) have decided not to take part. Armenia (AMPTV) has re-joined the contest after a one-year break.￼
The following 39 broadcasters have signed up: Albania (RTSH), Austria (ORF), Armenia (AMPTV), Azerbaijan (Ictimai TV), Belarus (BTRC), Belgium (RTBF), Bulgaria (BNT), Croatia (HRT), Cyprus (CyBC), Denmark (DR), Estonia (ERR), Finland (YLE), France (France3), Georgia (GPB), Germany (NDR), Greece (ERT), Hungary (MTV), Iceland (RÚV), Ireland (RTÉ), Israel (IBA), Italy (RAI), Latvia (LTV), Lithuania (LRT), FYR Macedonia (MKRTV), Malta (PBS), Moldova (TRM), Montenegro (RTCG), the Netherlands (TROS), Norway (NRK), Romania (TVR), Russia (C1R), San Marino (SMTV), Serbia (RTS), Slovenia (RTVSLO), Spain (TVE), Sweden (SVT), Switzerland (SRG SSR), Ukraine (NTU) and the United Kingdom (BBC).
"We regret the withdrawal of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Portugal and Slovakia, which have all cited economic reasons," Sand added.
Turkish broadcaster TRT has decided to withdraw because of amendments to the rules made in recent years. Sand: "We are surprised by this decision. The changes were made in 2009 and were since never formally objected by TRT. We are eager to pursue dialogue with the Turkish broadcaster to seek a viable solution."
The EBU is sensitive to the economic pressures facing its Members. Contest organisers are constantly seeking ways to cut costs for both participating broadcasters as well as the host broadcaster and find ways to make hosting the competition more affordable.
Initiatives range from reducing time spent in the host city to negotiating special hotel rates for delegations. Other measures are being looked into for the years to come.