Despite already paying its 2016 participation fee, Romania risks withdrawal from the Eurovision Song Contest because of TVR’s outstanding debts to the European Broadcasting Union, the Romanian broadcaster has revealed in a press release.
TVR’s debt, in excess of 10 million euro, has prompted the EBU to verbally warn that they would move to the next level of sanctions, which means elimination from the contest and cutting the broadcasting signal entirely. According to a press release issued by the Romanian state television,
EBU’s representatives have warned – verbally for now – TVR’s representatives that, because of the debts accumulated in the past eight years, [EBU] would move to the next stage of sanctions. Thus, Romania risks not being accepted on the Eurovision stage and not receiving the satellite signal for broadcasting the contest.
The Romanian broadcaster says that, in order to avoid just that, it paid the 2016 participation fee on time, but this is not enough to quiet concerns because of the high debt and TVR’s virtual bankruptcy. According to the same source, the European Broadcasting Union officials are now waiting for a statement from the authorities that would guarantee that TVR would continue to exist and pay the outstanding debts.
Although Romania’s elimination is unlikely due to the advanced date and preparations that are already in motion, it is a serious warning that puts a question mark over Romania’s participation in the coming years. TVR’s financial struggles have been a constant in the past, and endangered Romania’s participation both in 2014 and 2015. The last debt instalment that TVR paid, amounting to 250,000 euro, was not enough to calm the EBU’s concerns regarding the broadcaster’s ability to pay full debt in full.
Asked about this, Ovidiu Anton, the singer who is supposed to represent Romania after winning Selectia Nationala with “Moment Of Silence”, told Romanian daily Evenimentul zilei that he hoped the issue would be solved prior to his participation in Stockholm.
The Romanian Television has always worked hard to promote our music and help us artists succeed abroad. I hope that this time, when it’s also essential, the state institutions will continue to support us, for the sake of Romanian music in general and my participation in particular. We are currently about to promote my song “Moment of Silence” in London, as we did in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam. We hope that the people in charge will continue to watch over us and our music.
“No worries, just rock and roll”
We caught up with Ovidiu ahead of the London Eurovision Party and asked him about the situation. He said his focus was on the performance he was about to give.
“When I was called by the press to give a statement, … I said my main concern is going to London and rocking the stage. So until someone tells me, “Ovidiu, you’re staying home,” I’m just minding my business, I’m just preparing for Stockholm, I’m just taking each show at a time. So today is about London, today is about being here and singing for you guys. No worries, just rock and roll.”
But is there a chance he won’t make it to Stockholm? Ovidiu says he hopes not: “After all I’ve done in trying to win this, I don’t think I’m that unlucky dude. I think it’s not my fault and I think I don’t deserve that. And I can’t wait to be on stage in Stockholm and prove everyone I’m right.
What do you think about these latest developments? Do you think that Romania really is in danger of being excluded from Eurovision 2016?