When it comes to confirming participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, Greece has a tendency to keep us on the edge of our seats until the very last minute. Last year the country took part in the competition by exception, with the EBU allowing NERIT to participate despite the fact it had only just been formed and is not a member of the EBU.
EBU: “Nerit is not a member, so it won’t participate”
No matter how hard it is to communicate with the European Broadcasting Union, some tabloids have managed to obtain a rather logical response from them: “Only members of the EBU are eligible to take part and NERIT is not a member yet.” Given recent actions in Greece, which we outline below, it is impossible that NERIT will become a member in the coming days. It seems increasingly likely that Eurofans won’t see the country in Vienna.
NERIT UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT
Some weeks ago the EBU sent a letter to the Greek Prime Minister questioning the independence of the broadcaster. NERIT’s CEO Antonis Makridimitris and Assistant Consultant Rudolph Moronis subsequently resigned, accusing the government of manipulating the broadcaster. To make matters worse, the network refused to broadcast a speech given by a political rival of the government at the Thessaloniki International Fair, which prompted outrage among politicians and Twitter users. The term “Nerit” even started trending on Twitter. Yesterday, the third most powerful person in the channel, Christos Chomenidis, also resigned, stating that the government’s influence was excessive. Now people in Greece are shouting the obvious: NERIT is breaking apart. Some say the only solution would be resurrecting the former national broadcaster ERT, and re-hiring all of its 2,676 former employees.
Star TV reports that the channel still believes in its participation. But it remains to be seen whether the EBU will give Greece special treatment for a second year in a row—or force NERIT to announce its withdrawal from the 2015 competition.
Update at 11:28 GMT: Greece’s Star TV has received a reply from EBU, stating that there is a possibility that Greece may participate under similar arrangements as last year. In addition, NERIT has sent applications to become a member of the EBU and to participate at Eurovision. The EBU will decide on making it a member in December, while there is an extended deadline until January for countries to announce participation.
For now, let’s enjoy an encore of Eleftheria Eleftheriou from the 2012 contest in Baku.