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Romania has been disqualified from the Eurovision

The country’s national broadcaster has been banned from the contest for not paying debts.

Cezar of Romania performs in Malmo, Sweden, in May 2013.
Cezar of Romania performs in Malmo, Sweden, in May 2013.
Image: Associated Press

ROMANIA HAS BEEN disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden next month due to non-payment of debts by the state broadcaster, organisers have confirmed.

A statement on the Eurovision site said:

“The EBU has withdrawn member services from Romanian public service broadcaster Televiziunea Română (TVR) following the non-payment of debts totalling 16 million Swiss francs (€14.55 million).

TVR will now no longer be able to participate in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest and will lose access to other EBU 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.

Romania had been told it faced the prospect of exclusion from the competition if it did not immediately pay debts owed.

Deadline

The EBU said earlier this week it had urged the struggling state broadcaster to pay the debts by a deadline of Wednesday of this week.

“In a letter to the Finance Minister of Romania Anca Dragu sent on 15 April, the EBU requested a down payment of 10 million (Swiss francs) to be received in the EBU’s bank account by close of business on Wednesday 20 April 2016,” or face exclusion, the European Broadcasting Union said.

The organisation added it had also asked for an “unconditional and irrevocable” bank guarantee for the rest of the debt and evidence of a payment plan by year end.

TVR said in a statement that it made a repayment of €250,000 in January.

The station had then told the EBU that it didn’t have the means to pay any more back and asked for “understanding and tolerance” in the light of its “disastrous” financial state after reporting 2015 losses of €5.4 million.

Decision 

“It is regrettable that we are forced to take this action,” EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre said in today’s statement.

“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 jeopardises the financial stability of the EBU itself.

roman1 This morning's statement. Source: EBU

No signal 

The statement from the EBU said “the Romanian act will be taken out from the running order”.

As a consequence of the withdrawal of member services from TVR, following repeated non-payment of debt, the broadcaster will not have access to the broadcast signal from Stockholm, and thus will also not be able to broadcast the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

Ovidiu Anton was set to represent Romania this year with a song called (ironically) Moment of Silence.

Source: Eurovision Song Contest/YouTube

In 22 years of appearances the Romanians have never won Eurovision, twice placing third.

With reporting from AFP. 

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