Bosnia and Herzegovina have filed a preliminary application to return to Eurovision 2016, according to online news portal Faktor. The site confirmed the news with Dejan Kukric, the former Head of Delegation in Sarajevo, who is not part of BHRT’s decision-making team this year.
The news comes with one major caveat: BHRT still has time to pull out if it cannot secure the appropriate funding.
“By the 10th of October we will see what to do next,” Kukric said in this phone call with Faktor. “Each broadcaster has until then to cancel their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest — and without consequence.”
A history of cancelling
Bosnia and Herzegovina have stayed away from Eurovision since 2013, citing financial problems due to ongoing budget cuts. Despite sending early applications to participate in the contest both in 2014 and 2015, thus restoring hope for a possible return, BHRT later withdrew before the deadline.
In 2015, the broadcaster issued a statement that explained their non-participation was the result of “a drastic drop in license fee collection” and added that “the only way for the participation of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Eurovision Song Contest was to find the necessary sponsorship funds”. Apparently that didn’t happen.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a very low TV license fee: only four euros per year! That makes it difficult to raise funds. With the financial crisis still gripping the country, Eurovision is, understandably, a secondary concern.
Bosnia and Herzegovina at Eurovision
Bosnia and Herzegovina actually have a strong record in the contest. Since the introduction of the semi-finals, they have always qualified and have placed within the top 10 five times. In fact, the country has given us plenty of fan favourites (such as Hari Mata Hari’s “Lejla”). Their last representative was Maya Sar, who dazzled the audience with her very fragile and emotional voice back in 2012 in Baku.