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September 27, 2020
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Romania possibly banned from Eurovision contest over public broadcaster’s owing EBU over 10 ml euro

Romania risks not participating in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest because of the debts piled up in the past eight years to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) by the public television corporation TVR, informs a release of the institution to Agerpres on Saturday.

“Representatives of the European Broadcasting Union – the world’s largest public television association – verbally announced the representatives of the Romanian Television that because of debts to EBU accumulated by TVR in the past eight years, this body will move to the next sanction level. Thus, Romania risks not being accepted on the Eurovision stage and will neither receive the satellite signal for the transmission of the event,” reads the TVR release, which also mentions that the national broadcaster owes EBU over 10 million euros, the oldest debt dating from 2011 – 2012.

“Up until now, TVR has paid debts for the interval 2008 – 2012. The last payment of 250,000 euros was made in January, after which TVR announced the international organization that it can no longer pay,” the release says.

As for the Eurovision Song Contest, TVR said the registration fee had been duly paid.

“Exactly in order to make sure we participate and broadcast the 2016 contest, for the first time after many years, TVR paid the fee on time (in March). But nevertheless it seems the accrued debts determined the EBU Board to take this radical decision. The high EBU officials said they are expecting a viewpoint from the Romanian bodies they contacted in recent months (Parliament, the government, the Finance Ministry) because it is each country’s duty to ensure an honorable position for its public television, by fair laws and up-to-date financing,” reads the release.

TVR informs that it will continue diligences to participate in Eurovision and be able to broadcast the event. At the same time, the public TV corporation asks the state institutions contacted by the EBU to support the payment and guarantee request, reminding that other major events are next in line: the European Football Championship and the 2016 Olympics in Rio, which a television corporation buried in debt and underfinanced will be unable to offer the public.

“TVR [on Friday] filed its 2015 activity report to Parliament; progress is visible and a different money-managing strategy, but this is not enough to make up for year-long deficiencies and cover the aggressive underfinancing begun after 2004,” the document states.

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place on May 10, 12 and 14 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Romania is supposed to take part in the May 12 second semi-final of the competition alongside Albania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Georgia, Slovenia, Norway, Ukraine, Belgium, Latvia, Belarus, Ireland, Switzerland, Macedonia, Australia, Lithuania, Poland Israel and Serbia.

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