43 countries to take part in Moscow!12 January 2009 at 21:46 CET
Slovakia returns to the competition after some 10 years of absense, while San Marino will not send a contestant to Moscow. Despite the earlier intention not to take part, the Georgian broadcaster GPB decided to apply for participation shortly after the official deadline. Nevertheless, the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest unanimously decided to accept their application due to "exceptional circumstances". Latvian broadcaster LTV also decided to take part, despite the earlier announcement not to compete.
The following 38 countries will be represented in the two Semi-Finals of the 54th Eurovision Song Contest, on 12th and 14th of May:
Albania (RTVSH); Andorra (RTVA); Armenia (ARMTV); Azerbaijan (Ictimai TV); Belarus (BTRC); Belgium (RTBF); Bosnia & Herzegovina (BHRT); Bulgaria (BNT); Croatia (HRT); Cyprus (CyBC); Czech Republic (CT); Denmark (DR); Estonia (ERR); Finland (YLE); FYR Macedonia (MKRTV); Georgia (GPB); Greece (ERT); Hungary (MTV); Iceland (RÚV); Ireland (RTÉ); Israel (IBA); Latvia (LTV); Lithuania (LRT); Malta (PBS); Moldova (TRM); Montenegro (RTCG); the Netherlands (NOS); Norway (NRK); Poland (TVP); Portugal (RTP); Romania (TVR); Serbia (RTS); Slovakia (STV); Slovenia (RTVSLO); Sweden (SVT); Switzerland (SRG SSR idée suisse); Turkey (TRT) and Ukraine (NTU).
The draw to determine on which of the two nights the 38 Semi-Finalists will perform, will take place on the 30th of January in Moscow. The draws for the running order of the Semi-Finals, the Final and voting order take place in mid-March.
France (FT3), Germany (NDR/ARD), Russia (Channel One), Spain (TVE) and the United Kingdom (BBC) are automatically qualified for the Final, scheduled to take place on the 16th of May.
Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the EBU, refers to the participants list as a "tight family", and said: "42 of last year's 43 represented countries are back in the competition. We are very happy to see that despite a difficult year and the initial intention not to take part, Georgia returns to the competition. It is also fantastic to see Slovakia back, after 10 years of absence! Together with Host Broadcaster Channel One from Russia we are looking forward to another fantastic Eurovision Song Contest."