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Bern’s Eurovision Bid Faces Setback Amid SVP Opposition

July 9, 2024


The city of Bern’s aspirations to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2025 have encountered a significant obstacle. The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and the Federal Democratic Union Party have announced a referendum against the cantonal financial contribution to the event, putting Bern’s bid in jeopardy.

Background on SVP

The SVP is Switzerland’s largest political party and has gained notoriety for its far-right stance and controversial positions. In 2007, the SVP faced widespread criticism for a poster depicting white sheep kicking a black sheep out of Switzerland, which many viewed as racist and xenophobic . More recently, the party has continued to push anti-Muslim policies, including a successful campaign to ban the construction of new minarets in 2009 .

Source: Bernexpo, Site of the Bernese Bid, Securiton AG

Impact on Bern’s Eurovision Bid

The referendum argues that the funds allocated for hosting Eurovision should be redirected to support sports and other local initiatives. According to the People’s Party, the cantonal government of Bern wants to set aside CHF 30 million for the event. Due to the referendum deadlines, it would be unclear for months whether Canton Bern would be able to provide the necessary funding to organize the ESC. Parties and organizations in the canton have three months to collect the 10,000 signatures required for a referendum.

Controversy and Public Reaction

The SVP criticizes the Eurovision Song Contest, citing high taxes in Bern and suggesting that other cantons like Zurich, Geneva, or Basel, which have lower taxes and more financial leeway, are better suited for hosting the event. People’s Party parliamentarian Samuel Krähenbühl stated, “Let’s leave these high expenses and the other problems that such a major event entails to them.”

The Federal Democratic Union criticizes the Eurovision Song Contest itself, claiming that the ESC has increasingly developed into an event where anti-Semitism is becoming socially acceptable, leading to serious reputational damage and major security risks for the canton of Bern. As a Swiss person, I know way too much this background noise from the SVP, and it’s neither helping nor giving a good image of the party but could make Bern’s bid less likely for sure.

Nemo in his hometown Biel/Bienne in the Canton Bern. Source: © PETER SCHNEIDER /

Timeline and Next Steps

If the cantonal government approves the financial contribution, the matter will go before the cantonal parliament at the beginning of September. Depending on the decision, the three-month referendum period will begin, with the vote not being held until 2025.

What are your thoughts on the SVP’s successful referendum to block federal funding for Bern’s Eurovision bid? Do you think another Swiss city should take on the challenge? Share your opinions and join the conversation in the comments below!

Source: SWI

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