The Eurovision Song Contest 2016 will no longer see a total of 43 participating countries, but instead 42. This decision comes after in the recent week, where rumors were turned into truth, and slowly developing into fear, with the national Romania Broadcaster, TVR (Televiziunea Română).
Around 1 week ago, news were slowly coming out, that Romania’s participation was in serious danger, due to the Romanian Broadcaster being in debt to the EBU, owing them 16 Million CHF(Swiss Franc), converted into around 14.56 Million Euros.
Ovidiu Anton himself, was asked about these stories, and stayed positive, despite the bad news, praying, hoping and even believing that nothing would happen, and that he would get his chance to represent Romania in Stockholm.
According to the EBU, a deadline was given to the Romanian Broadcaster and Government to pay around 10 Million CHF (9 Million Euros), by a given deadline, which was originally set for 20th of April, but eventually extended to the 21st of April. The EBU state, that this debt started all the way back in 2007, and reached a crucial state in 2010. Alone this year, the EBU has tried to reach the Romanian Government, but no reply was ever given. A final letter was then sent to the Finance Minister of Romania, Anca Dragu, where the EBU then demanded at least the proposed amount by the deadline, and the rest by the year. However, nothing happened and has lead to this final decision, to exclude Romania from this years contest.
Excluding the Romanian Broadcaster also mean, that they will lose other rights and services, such as Eurovision News and Sports News Exchanges, and the right to broadcaster other major events. This being the EURO 2016 which will take place in France, and the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. Both sports events, which will feature the Romanian National Football Team, and multiple Romanian athletes.
EBU Director General, Ingrid Deltenre has stated:[box style=”note”] “It is regrettable that we are forced to take this action. We are disappointed that all our attempts to resolve this matter have received no response from the Romanian government. In recent weeks the EBU has taken note of the Ministry of Finance’s suggestion that TVR may be placed into insolvency proceedings which may in turn lead to a profound restructuring of the broadcaster. The EBU is a not-for-profit association which represents 73 Public Service Broadcasters in 56 countries. The continued indebtedness of TVR jeopardizes the financial stability of the EBU itself.” [/box]
Jon Ola Sand has also commented on the issue:[box style=”note”]”This is of course disappointing for the artist chosen to represent Romania, for our colleagues at TVR who have prepared their participation so well this year and, not least, for Romanian viewers and the many Eurovision fans in the country,”[/box]
This decision has already had a major impact on fans, stating that this decision is rather “unfair” and “unacceptable” by the EBU.
Majority of the fans at this point, believe that Ovidiu Anton should be allowed to participate and take part in the contest. Due to this decision having a huge effect on the view, of how the contest is run.
Many believe that this decision should not have any effect on Ovidiu, since he is not involved in the high debt. The fact, that Romania applied for participation by the deadline, for the 2016 contest, and were originally allowed to participate.
Disqualifying Ovidiu, the entire Romanian delegation and TVR, is see as very unprofessional, since it is just about 3 weeks before the finals, and just days before the rehearsals even take place.
Romania even held and took their time, to plan their national final, to select their entry for this years contest. Which Ovidiu won this time, after participating multiple times in Selecţia Naţională.
Ovidiu Anton has also expressed himself on facebook, saying:[box style=”note”] Thanks for the international support from everywhere, its a sad day, my friends… [/box]
The news has also spread out to international media and even other artists from this years event, express their sadness with about the sad news.
— Amir (@Amir_Off) April 22, 2016
— Poli Genova (@poligenova) April 22, 2016
The topic having such a big impact on media, has lead fans to unite and even try to find a possible solution, in order to save Romania’s participation this year. Petitions have been made, and wishes about Ovidiu at least taking part in any way, in the contest. Even TVR’s General Manger, Irina Radu, has been called to a emergency meeting at the Ministry of Finance to find a solution.
Romania as a participating country, made their debut at the Eurovision Song Contest, back in 1994, when it was held in Dublin, Ireland.
Since their debut in 1994, Romania has always tried to take part in the contest, but we’re relegated from taking part in 1995, 1997 & 2001 due to low results. In 1996 where they did select a song, but didn’t make it to the finals in Oslo.
Romania has been able to take part each year since, and has also taken part every year since 2002.
Back in 2004, when the semi-finals were introduced to the contest, Romania is just 1 of the few countries left, to always participate and always qualifying to the grand final, along with Greece & Russia, without withdrawing once.
As for Ovidiu Anton, he took part in the national final in Romania, a total of 5 times. In 2010 he took part with his band “Pasager”, with the song “Running Out of Time”, and then he tried all by himself in 2012 with “I Walk Alone”, in 2013 with “Run Away With Me” & in 2015 with “Still Alive”, before finally winning this year, with “Moment of Silence”.
On the behalf of the ESCUnited team, we wish all the best to Ovidiu, and hopefully a positive solution will be found in time, before the contest takes place.
We will stay close to any news regarding this problem, so stay tuned…