There has been a lot of speculation about the list of participants for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest over the past months. What happened?
We have over 30 broadcasters who are dedicated Eurovision Song Contest participants and consider it a highlight on their schedule. We are incredibly proud of that, and appreciate that commitment.
Over the years we have seen countries coming and going, and this year some broadcasters take a break to re-think their approach, others face financial difficulties.
Is it becoming too expensive for some broadcasters to participate?
A broadcaster that participates in the Eurovision Song Contest gets 7,5 hours of high quality live entertainment on prime time, bringing high ratings and a lot of excitement amongst the public.
We firmly believe they get high value for money. But we also understand that does not mean they can all easily afford it. It’s tough times and we see how public broadcasters in all corners of Europe have to deal with severe budget cuts.
What has the EBU done to get as many broadcasters as possible on board?
We are extremely sensitive to the big challenges faced by many of our Members. We have spent a lot of time working with those facing budget cuts and organisational challenges, and tried to find solutions so they can take part in Copenhagen.
The EBU froze participation fees for 2014 compared to last year. In 2013 we already shortened the rehearsal schedule with a day, cutting costs for delegations staying in the host city. This year, host broadcaster DR and their local partners negotiated sharp hotel prices.
Nevertheless, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Serbia had no other choice but staying home due to severe budget restraints. It is also unfortunate that after initially signing up, Bosnia & Herzegovina had to withdrawn, while Croatia has organisational challenges for not participating.
We are very happy to welcome back Poland and Portugal.
A question that's top-of-mind for many fans; Is there any chance to see Turkey returning to the competition?
We have made a lot of effort to bring back Turkey to the Eurovision Song Contest. But in the end, it's up to our Member Broadcaster TRT to decide if they want to be part of this unique pan-European cultural event. They are certainly welcome, and we know that many people across Europe would love to see them back. Therefor, we are continuing our talks with TRT.
What can we expect for the future of the Eurovision Song Contest?
Several broadcasters already expressed their interest to return in 2015, when we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest. We will also continue to work with broadcasters who are facing challenges. One thing is for sure: we need to adapt to reality.
As long as we are in close contact with our Member Broadcasters, listen to their challenges and are eager to find solution, this is something we can deal with. The next stop is Copenhagen, where our Danish colleagues are preparing a Eurovision Song Contest unlike ever before.