Last week the EBU surprised Junior Eurovision fans by confirming that Kazakhstan would make its JESC debut this November in this Minsk. The Kazakh inclusion raised the question: would Kazakhstan also be invited to compete at Eurovision 2019? However, the EBU has now confirmed that it has “no plans” to invite Kazakhstan to participate at Eurovision next year.
Eurovision fan blog ESC Bubble reached out to the EBU and asked whether Kazakhstan would also be allowed to compete at Eurovision 2019. An EBU spokesperson said:
“Only full EBU Members are eligible to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest although the ESC Reference Group may accept, at its discretion, an Associate Member as a “guest” participant in exceptional circumstances as it has previously done with Australia.
“There are no plans to extend this arrangement to other Associate Members.”
The EBU’s statement makes it clear that Kazakhstan’s participation at Junior Eurovision 2018 does not mean automatic participation at Eurovision 2019.
While the ESC Reference Group could potentially invite Khabar Agency to compete in Eurovision 2019, their statement confirms this is not on the cards.
The statement also confirms that Australia still does not have a guaranteed place to compete in Eurovision and must be approved by the ESC Reference Group each year.
The EBU also commented on the decision to invite Kazakh broadcaster Khabar Agency to participate at Junior Eurovision 2018:
“It is at the discretion of the JESC Reference Group, which represents all participating broadcasters, to invite any EBU Associate that has expressed an interest, to take part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for a single year. Khabar Agency, Kazakhstan’s participating broadcaster, is an EBU Associate and will participate in 2018.
“The participation rules have not changed.”
This confirms that Kazakhstan’s JESC participation is for 2018 alone and they are not a permanent new competitor.
The EBU also confirmed that Wales is able to participate in Junior Eurovision 2018 because the contest is not broadcast by any other UK member broadcaster. Welsh broadcaster S4C is effectively taking the UK’s position previously managed by ITV from 2003 to 2005.
It has long been known that Kazakhstan has been keen to get involved with Eurovision. Last year broadcaster Channel 31 claimed that Kazakhstan would be sending a delegation to Lisbon and would be debuting at Eurovision 2019.
However, the EBU issued a clarification, stating that “since Channel 31 is outside the European Broadcasting Area and is also not a member of the Council of Europe, it is not eligible to become an active Member of the EBU.”
Kazakhstan will now make their Eurovision debut at Junior Eurovision 2018. The Central Asian nation has confirmed they will use a national final to select their act for Minsk.
What do you think? Should Kazakhstan get an invitation to compete at Eurovision? Should the EBU mix things up and invite other countries? Share your thoughts below!
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