They are the Balkan nation who have only participated at Eurovision once since 2013. And now it seems even less likely that Bosnia and Herzegovina will make a comeback on the Eurovision stage in the near future. National broadcaster BHRT have confirmed that the EBU have sanctioned them from both the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Minsk this November and the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 owing to outstanding debts.

Lejla Babovic, Head of Delegation for Bosnia of Herzegovina, explained to Eurofestivales:

“Unfortunately, BHRT can not participate in the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest or the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, since we are under the EBU sanctions, which means that BHRT can not participate until the debts against the EBU are resolved.”

The European Broadcasting Union also confirmed this, saying:

“I am afraid that BHRT is currently denied access to all EBU services due to its high levels of debt to the EBU”

This is not the first time that the EBU has sanctioned a broadcaster from participating at Eurovision. In 2016, Romania was disqualified from the contest in Stockholm due to unpaid debts by the Romanian broadcaster TVR.

As a result, their selected singer Ovidiu Anton and his song “Moment of Silence” were un-invited from competing…despite the fact his promotional tour was well and truly underway. The sanction was lifted after the government paid off TVR’s debts, and thus Romania returned to the contest in 2017.

Late last year the EBU briefly sanctioned the Macedonian broadcaster MRT for the same reason. However, the sanctions were lifted a week later and FYR Macedonia participated in both Junior Eurovision 2017 and Eurovision 2018.

While the continuing absence of Bosnia and Herzegovina will come as sad news, it isn’t exactly a surprise. Their only participation since their withdrawal — that was in 2016 with Dean & Dalal — was entirely privately funded. They then withdrew again in 2017, with Babovic then saying it would be “highly irresponsible” to participate.

Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Eurovision Song Contest

Bosnia and Herzegovina first participated at the 1993 contest in Millstreet, placing 16th. After the introduction of the semifinals they emerged as something of a powerhouse. They repeatedly qualified for the grand final and made the Top 10 five times between 2004 and 2011. This included their best result, placing 3rd with Hari Mata Hari and the song “Lejla” in 2006.

Bosnia and Herzegovina withdrew from the contest in 2013 as a result of their financial difficulties. They made a one-off return in 2016 with “Ljubav je” by Dalal and Deen feat. Ana Rucner and Jala. To date it is the only Bosnian entry to fail to qualify from the semifinals.

We all hope that Bosnia and Herzegovina will return to the contest eventually. Until then, we can still enjoy the songs that have represented the Balkan nation thus far! What’s your favourite? Let us know down below. 

Photo: Andres Putting (EBU)

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43 Comments on "Bosnia and Herzegovina: EBU says sanctions prevent Eurovision participation…as BHRT debts remain unpaid"

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AngieP
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It’s sad that some countries can’t compete due to financial issues. But I understand the rules are the rules. At least EBU told them early and didn’t repeat the Romania 2016 situation. BH is one of the countries I really want to return. I think they could take some time off to sort things out and then return.

Boycott Jerusalem 2019
Guest
Boycott Jerusalem 2019

They should take some time off to sort out their finances and hopefully when they return they will return with a bang just like Ukraine 2016 and Portugal 2017.

Joe
Guest
In the grand scale of countries I’d like to see return to the contest, I won’t deny that Bosnia & Herzegovina is near the top of the list. While they’ve been just as uneven as their Balkan neighbors, they can KILL a good ethno-ballad, as with the undisputed (IMO) Balkan ballad Eurovision champ, “Lejla.” While this year saw some good returns to form on that front from Serbia and Montenegro, nobody does it like Bosnia. Would love to see what they could do if they returned. Beyond that: – Slovakia was the definition of untapped Eurovision potential, with some very… Read more »
beccaboo1212
Guest

Remember when you feared that Eurovision would lose Bosnia and Herzegovina forever? 🙁

beccaboo1212
Guest

I don’t want other Balkan countries to get sanctioned. 🙁

Carl
Guest

Fyrom. Whats that? never heard of it. I say Macedonia 🙂

Jo.
Guest

Hey mods, free my comment, please.

Jo.
Guest

No, cuz I can still say YAY!

Truth Teller
Guest

What a sh*t show.

EscFan
Guest

Why not let the broadcaster RTRS (Radio Television of Republic of Srpska) from Bosnia participate? In 2014, they chose a representative AND song for Eurovision, but unfortunately BHRT refused to give them the right to send someone. Even without membership, RTRS could take all costs but BHRT would be the official participating broadcaster. That would be fair since Bosnia is a multi ethnic country and everyone should have the right to compete.

Joseph
Guest

The so-called “Republica Srpska” is not a country but an entity in Bosnia, therefore it is not even eligible for EBU membership, let alone participation. How old are you – 10?

EscFan
Guest

I never claimed they are a country or EBU member. I just suggested that they choose the artist and song and take all costs for the participation. But of course under agreement with BHRT who would be the official broadcaster.

Emil
Guest

@Joseph ESCFan’s idea wasn’t that the Repiblica Srpska participates jn the Contest but that the Broadcasting Service of the Repiblica Srpska could choose the song and artists for Bosnia and Herzegowina.

Denis
Guest

Exactly! RTRS is only a local broadcaster, like BBC Wales or so. Therefore it can’t represent B&H, in the same way BBC Wales can’t represent UK.
And even if they could participate they would just represent RS, not the whole country.

Bryan
Guest

Actually, comparing “Republica Srpska” to Wales is funny because Wales is a country within the United Kingdom, while “Republica Srpska” is just a constituent entity of Bosnia – not even a region, nor province, let alone a state, much less a country! Scotland, Wales, and Kosovo are sovereign countries in union and/or associated with another one (Scotland and Wales with the United Kingdom, Kosovo with Albania), so they DO take part in the Eurovision but get represented as one country, although all three of them have associate or observer EBU memberships.

EscFan
Guest

But wait what’s the problem? Why wouldn’t for example RTRS choose the representative for Bosnia if BHRT is not interested? BHRT could still stay the official participating broadcaster on the paper as an EBU member, but would give all rights to RTRS. What would be the problem? They would still represent the whole country Bosnia.

#Budapest2019
Guest

That’d work without the sanctions.

Jamie
Guest

That wouldn’t work either way because Republika Srpska is an internal entity of Bosnia, and not a province or state. Local broadcasters within countries are not eligible for EBU membership.

#Budapest2019
Guest

It’s not EBU membership, it would be paying BHRT’s candidature under their conditions. They could select the artist collaborating with BHRT, or whatever else they decide to do. (This has already happened in the past; for example, Catalan broadcaster TV3 collaborating with Andorran RTVA).

Official broadcaster would be BHRT, but the costs would be assumed by Republika Srpska’s broadcaster.

But again, as I said BHRT’s sanctions won’t allow this.

EscFan
Guest

Let’s ban you for making stupid comments

Roy Moreno
Guest

Really wish they could come back already
I’m still waiting for Bosnia and Herzegovina to return though 🙂

Gabriel
Guest

No, thanks!

beccaboo1212
Guest

Once the EBU lifts the sanctions, Bosnia ad Herzegovina’s government should be able to pay off BHRT’s debt. 🙂 Besides, I miss the country at Eurovision. 🙁

Jamie
Guest

EBU shall not lift sanctions until Bosnia pays off its debt to it.

Cameron
Guest

Feel sorry for Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, can’t the government of Bosnia help BHRT pay off the debts, like Romania in 2016

Maldric
Guest

Bosnia is even poorest than Romania… :/

Cameron
Guest

I know that however the government can at least help them pay off some debts and at least negotiate participation with the EBU. Like is Israel this year, of which we all know worked out very well for them ????

ThomasUK
Guest

@Cameron

Are you sure of that?
Its strange I thought Israel was one of the richest countries

Claudio
Guest

OH THANK GOD!!!!!!! FINALLY. NOW MONTENEGRO AND SERBIA PLEASE!!!!!!

DrinkWater
Guest

Lol
I agree with Montenegro
But Serbia is OK

beccaboo1212
Guest

I don’t want Montenegro and/or Serbia to be sanctioned! 🙁

Fouks
Guest

He said ‘removed’ NOT ‘sanctioned’. That has a different meaning and not a good one for serbs, but I agree with Danny.

EscFan
Guest

Your behavior and comments about the Serbian people are disgusting. You should be ashamed.

Johnny
Guest

@Cameron Lol thats not true. There has always been rumors regarding vote fixing but those all are just rumors because some countries do well. And Azerbaijan and Armenia has always broadcasted each others performances l. All the countries have to broadcast all the performances, thats one of the essential rules of the contest, for similar reasons some countries (mostly middle eastern) cant participate in ESC because they dont want to broadcast some countries’ performances.

EscFan
Guest

What the hell are you talking about? Serbia is a peaceful nation, a country in Europe, a full EBU member and has 100% right to participate in this competition. If you have something against this country, I guess this is your problem and not Serbia’s.
Even if they committed such crimes (which is NOT true), would we block Germany from ESC because they are responsible for the holocaust and both world wars?

Holden
Guest

More than 20 countries in Europe (including Serbia) took part in Holocaust – not just Germany! BUT, it was only Serbia who repeated it during the 90s. Europe did not kill millions of people in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Croatia. Serbia did!

EscFan
Guest

Are you that ignorant? What did the Croats do? The Muslims, the Albanians… are they all innocent?
You really wanna tell me that Europe didn’t commit any crimes there? The NATO – that’s 19 countries back then – started an aggression against a sovereign nation – Serbia. They were present in Bosnia, they bombed Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia. There is blood on their hands and you can’t convince me that everyone is innocent and only Serbs are the bad ones. Some comments here are disgusting.

EscFan
Guest

I hope you get removed for posting stupid comments here.

Wtf
Guest

Lol, this obsession over Serbia is a thing obviously.

Cameron
Guest

Why should Serbia and Montenegro be sanctioned anyway

beccaboo1212
Guest

I don’t want that to happen! 🙁 Besides, Serbia’s already competing at Junior Eurovision this November, and now I’m hoping for Montenegro to return.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Y’all realize that Claudio/DrinkWater/Fouks etc are all the same ugly troll lmao