Eurovision 2023: EBU expands on hosting decision after backlash

June 23, 2022

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6 days after their initial statement, the European Broadcasting Union has expanded on their decision to not let Ukraine host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

As expected, the EBU sited the main issue of hosting the contest in Ukraine as being the safety of workers and fans attending the event.

The EBU said:

“The Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, that all participating broadcasters agree upon, clearly state that the event can be moved in a force majeure situation such as an ongoing war.”

“In response to the EBU’s security questionnaire a number of risks that would impact the immediate planning for such a large event, including the “severe” risk of air raids/attacks by aircraft or attacks by drones or missiles, which can cause significant casualties, were highlighted by the Ukrainian assessment provided to us.”

The EBU went onto say that “third-party expert security advice” suggested that counter proposed by Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC were “insufficient” and the risk rating of a mass casualty event was “high”. Furthermore, the EBU said the words of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg played a role in deciding whether Ukraine would be able to host the contest. Stoltenberg has said the war in Ukraine “could take years.”

The statement also said the lack of necessary surrounding infrastructure means a neighbouring country to Ukraine also can’t host the contest. This rules out the possibility of countries such as Poland hosting. Jacek Kurski, chairman of Polish broadcaster TVP, had previously said that Poland would be open to hosting Eurovision 2023 if asked. 

The EBU then reiterated its stance by saying:

“The EBU, with regret, made its decision to move the event to another country and will continue discussions on finding a suitable location for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.”

On June 17, the EBU released their initial statement saying the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest couldn’t be hosted in Ukraine due to the ongoing war with Russia. Hours later, Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine Tkachenko Oleksandr released a statement condemning the decision and asking for additional negotiations on hosting the contest in Ukraine.

While the EBU’s stance on hosting hasn’t changed, their statement today closed by saying:

“We are happy to engage further with our Ukrainian Member UA:PBC on all these issues.”

The EBU has started talks with the BBC with regards to hosting the contest in the United Kingdom. Interestingly, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries with both said they would like the contest to be hosted in Ukraine. Johnson said “It’s a year away. It’s going to be fine by the time the Eurovision Song Contest comes around and I hope they get it.” The UK Prime Minister clearly has a limited knowledge of how the contest is organised as preparations for the contest will start months before May. 

What do you think of the EBU’s new statement? Let us know in the comments below!

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