Trouble may be brewing in the Balkans.
As first pointed out on Twitter by @ESCdiscord, Macedonian broadcaster MRT’s newly released budget proposal for 2023 does not include any funds set aside for participation in next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. It does, however, budget for a participation in next year’s Junior Eurovision. This is in contrast to the broadcaster’s 2022 budget proposal that included funds for participation in both contests.
This is all speculation, and nothing has been confirmed, but this would be a surprising decision coming from MRT. As reported by ESCUnited, Head of Delegation Meri Popova submitted a proposal to MRT’s programming council in July, outlining steps to improve the country’s results at Eurovision and deal with a handful of scandals that have plagued North Macedonia’s participation over the last two contests. Popova’s recommendations included an increase in budget and delegation size and the implementation of a public relations committee. The programming council, in turn, requested that MRT management provide a report on how these recommendations could be implemented and submit documents showing income earned from Eurovision advertising over the last four years.
North Macedonia has competed at Eurovision 21 times since making its debut in 1998. Its best ever result remains Tamara Todevska‘s 7th place finish in 2019 with “Proud”. Andrea placed 11th in the 2022 contest’s second semi, narrowly missing out on a spot in the Grand Final.
So far, 33 countries have confirmed their participation in next year’s contest, and last week marked the deadline for nations to apply for participation with the EBU. It remains to be seen whether or not North Macedonia will be competing in The UK next year, but the broadcaster is deep in preparation for December’s Junior Eurovision in Yerevan. MRT announced in June that the country would be represented by youngsters Lara Trpčeska and Irina Davidovska.
Which of North Macedonia’s Eurovision entries do #YOU like the best? Are #YOU concerned about the country’s potential withdrawal from the contest, or is this all much ado about nothing? Sound off in the comments below, in our forum, or on social media @ESCUnited.