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!

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Zebb
Guest

Although there are weaker countries from east it’s hard to forget how much it costs to stay united in both financial perspective and political movements. At least they usually bring it’s own face, not a sweden fur.

Xeph
Guest

They send the same type of song every single year, meh

FranciscoTe
Guest

That’s sad……

Charles
Guest

… less 12 points to any of the Yugoslav countries next year … even though it’s fair to say these haven’t been quite making it that well in recent years as in the *cough* remarkable days of pure televoting … when cheap entertainment was major and music was .. what is that? It’s all about Russia being there or not in 2017 … that is the ONE controversy that will trademark the whole edition overshadowing everything else in a fashion that only Russia knows how to do.

Marc
Guest

I won’t miss them. Serbia must be crying.. 12 points they won’t get hahah

mocosuburbian
Guest

@Pollaski but I like my snooty condescending talk shows 🙁
plus they show GBBO reruns how could u not <3 them

KennyESC
Guest

It’so so sad. I mean, they are STILL singing in Bosnian and this year they were with FYR Macedonia & Austria the only countries singing FULLY in a non-English language. I will never understand Europe sometimes, by making sh*tty songs like Lithuania’s go to finals but not Bosnia’s. It’s just unfair. Sadly I expect next year to be full english like this, with some countries(France, Spain, Italy), a part of them being Big 5 going bilingual. It’s very very sad.

cheesecake
Guest

I didn’t expect anything else unfortunately.

BC
Guest

There are some less developed and less stable countries able to compete (Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia etc) than Bosnia, but here we can easily see the power of bad management and bad laws that can effect some countries to compete or not to compete.

DenizNL
Guest

One of the only countries that still sang in their mother tongue is withdrawing and that makes me pretty sad, but it was quite obvious they wouldn’t be there next year. Portugal is back though, so I hope they bring us a brilliant Portuguese song, that could do well.

Roelof Meesters
Guest

🙁 I hope Turkey’ll return now.

an esc fan
Guest

Don’t know if I’m right, but I guess there are 2 different things :
1. participation fee must be paid each year, only for ESC
2. the total amount of money TV stations must pay to EBU each year,for the whole package : music events like ESC, sport events and other programs. From here come milions euros debts that Bosnia and Herzegovina, also Romania have.

Pollaski
Guest
@mocosuburbian There’s one major difference- we don’t do TV licenses in the USA, and if we did, PBS would be in even MORE trouble. Outside of Downton Abbey and Sesame Street, what reason really is there to watch PBS? A bunch of snooty condescending talk shows and obscure theatre productions you can watch on YouTube at will? PBS may be dying, but that’s because private television left them behind ages ago, and they can’t compete. Hell, even Sesame Street’s gone to HBO for first run episodes because they did the math and realize the show would go bankrupt in a… Read more »
mocosuburbian
Guest

slovakia fill the void
????????????????????????????????????

mocosuburbian
Guest

tragic, even though I’ve only ever liked one bosnian entry (love in rewind)
bhrt’s story reminds me of the slow decline of PBS here in the US
i can feel their frustration 🙁

Denis
Guest

Sadly I didn’t expect any other result. It would be a surprise if they participated again.
I don’t think the cost is the issue here since similar “weaker” countries such as Bulgaria and Macedonia can compete. Rather the issue is due to B&H not managing itself the way it should.

Briekimchi
Guest

Sad but not unexpected.

an esc fan
Guest

It’s so sad, balkan countries try so hard to participate ( like Croatia 2016, without help from broadcaster ). As long as EBU is non-profit, I think the fee should be decided by the host, some countries are more expensive ( Sweden ), others are less expensive ( Ukraine ).

Pollaski 3: Rise of the Machines
Guest
Pollaski 3: Rise of the Machines

Bummer, but if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it.

Anyone have any idea how much it would actually cost to compete in Eurovision? I can kinda sorta guess at a ballpark, but I’ve never actually seen any hard numbers.

Jonas
Guest

Unfortunate. Makes it even more galling to see notoriously corrupt and immoral Azerbaijan take part.