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Jon Ola Sand: “Ensuring that as many countries as possible take part is a high priority”

13 November 2013 at 16:00 CET

Just one week before the first deadline for signing up to next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen, the European Broadcasting Union is full of confidence.

"Ensuring that as many countries as possible take part in Copenhagen is of a high priority for us", says Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand.

"There is still a lot of support for the Eurovision Song Contest all over Europe, even though some of the participating countries are considering whether to take part”. 

Greece granted an extended deadline

At the moment, the EBU is in negotiations with Greece after the government closed the country’s national broadcaster, ERT, in the summer. The interim Greek broadcaster has not yet been admitted to the European Broadcasting Union, which is a prerequisite for being able to send a participant to the Eurovision Song Contest.  

"We are in close contact and we would really like to have the Greeks take part. I hope that we will find a solution, but this is not in place as yet”, says Jon Ola Sand.

"We have given them an extended deadline beyond the 22nd of November, which is the sign-up deadline”, he reveals.  

Cyprus and Croatia are out – Portugal is back

The financial crisis and austerity measures imposed on national TV budgets have meant that several countries have had to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest.  

Cyprus and Croatia have decided not to participate but Portugal is making a comeback after taking a break in 2013.  

"We are aware of the economic challenges that several of our members face. Unfortunately, we cannot reduce the participation fee for some countries, as then we would have increase it for the others. However, we are trying to find various other solutions”, says Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand.

Türkvision not seen as a competitor

In 2013, Turkey did not participate in the Eurovision Song Contest and has instead started its own competition called Türkvision. 

"The EBU does not have a patent for organising music competitions. We do not see Türkvision as any competition to Eurovision but we will keep an eye to see how it develops”, says Jon Ola Sand.

It has been suggested that it was dissatisfaction with the rules, which give the juries half of the votes, and ensure the so-called "Big 5" (France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Germany) a place in the Grand Final, that have caused Turkey to withdraw.

"We have read the reports in the press but Turkish broadcaster, TRT, has never provided the EBU with an explanation. We would like to get in contact with them and do everything we can so that they will participate again. Turkey is an important country for the contest; always well-prepared and sending good participants and songs”.

The initial deadline for confirming participation for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest is set for the 22nd of November. The competition will take part on the 6th, 8th and 10th of May at the B&W-Hallerne on Refshaleøen in Copenhagen, Denmark, following Emmelie de Forest's victory in Malmö earlier this year.