Love in rewind: Bosnia and Herzegovina confirms it won’t participate in Eurovision 2017

It had long been suspected that Bosnia and Herzegovina would not return to Eurovision for 2017, and now national broadcaster BHRT has confirmed the sad news. Speaking to the Eurovisionary blog, the 2016 head of delegation Lejla Babovic confirmed that the broadcaster is unable to participate in Kyiv for financial reasons.

Hari Mata Hari gave Bosnia and Herzegovina its best result

Hari Mata Hari gave Bosnia and Herzegovina its best result with “Lejla” in 2006

In recent years, the national broadcaster has struggled with financial problems, partly due to the low income from the €3.80 monthly television license fee that only half of the nation’s television owners actually pay.

Back in June we reported that BHRT had come to an agreement over its €5.5 million debt with the European Broadcasting Union, meaning that its access to the EBU’s member services, including EURO 2016 broadcasting, would continue.

But the cash-strapped broadcaster is still in no position to enter Eurovision 2017. Babovic explained to Eurovisionary:

“As you probably already know, our public service faces a very difficult financial situation. Since the 1st of July this year there are no existing laws in the country, that secure collecting of TV license fee, which brings our activities into danger. In our present situation it would be highly irresponsible to submit an application for competing in such an expensive project as Eurovision Song Contest is, when we at the same time are aware, that we won’t be able to finance our participation.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s entry for Eurovision 2016, Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner and Jala with their song “Ljubav je”, was only made possible due to extensive sponsorship arrangements, including involvement from the artists themselves.

A similar full sponsorship arrangement would have been the only way that the Balkan nation could have realistically entered in 2017.

Bosnia and Herzegovina first entered Eurovision in 1993. Since the semi-finals were introduced, Bosnia and Herzegovina could always be counted on to quality for the grand final, until their entry in 2016 broke their lucky streak by only just missing out in 11th place.

Their best result was in 2006, when Hari Mata Hari placed third with the evocative Balkan ballad “Lejla”, written by 2004 runner-up, Zeljko Joksimovic.

Bosnia and Herzegovina took a three-year break from Eurovision, from 2013 to 2015, before returning in 2016. This gives hope to fans that they will again return to the competition.

We’ll be really sad to see Bosnia and Herzegovina missing from Kyiv. Dalal, Deen, Ana Rucner and Jala were a blast in Stockholm, and Deban had an amazing time recently visiting them in Croatia. We hope that BHRT are able to resolve their financial issues and make a Eurovision comeback!

What do you think? Are you sad to see Bosnia and Herzegovina go? Share your thoughts below!