It is unlikely that Macedonia will participate in the 2018 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. This news comes from the national broadcaster MRT who have stated that due to accumulating debts owed to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), they will be unable to send an entry to Portugal next May.
Towards the end of last week the EBU declared that MRT no longer had access to their services due to outstanding debts. This means that the broadcaster will not be able to air any of the EBU’s members’ sports matches, films, foreign shows, cartoons, or documentaries. Additionally it was clarified today that if circumstances do not change dramatically in the near future that the Balkan nation will not be allowed to compete at Eurovision 2018.
An official statement outlines the EBU’s position:
‘As a result of non-payment of debt, FYROM’s public service broadcaster Macedonian Radio Television (MRT) currently does not have access to the EBU’s Member services, including the Eurovision News and Sports News Exchanges, the right to broadcast specific sporting events, legal, technical and research expertise and lobbying services. MRT will also not participate in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest as things stand but will continue to take part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in November.’
An anonymous source has suggested that the amount that MRT owes could total as much as €500,000. This is a conservative estimate as MRT allegedly owe domestic and foreign trustees amounts totalling almost €22m.
This is not the first time that a national broadcaster’s debt has meant a nation has been forced to withdraw from Eurovision. In 2016 Romania had selected and begun promoting their artist Ovidiu Anton’s song ‘Moment of Silence’ only to be forced to withdraw due to financial circumstances, two months ahead of the Contest. Other nations including Bosnia and Herzegovina have been unable to compete for the past two years due to financial difficulties. As it stands, 42 nations will now compete at Eurovision 2018.
Macedonia were most recently represented by Jana Burceska at Eurovision 2017. Her song ‘Dance Alone’ proved popular with Eurovision fans, but didn’t make it through to the grand final. She did however receive a marriage proposal from her boyfriend which she accepted live on air in the green room.