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)