Earlier this month, Hungary was not on the confirmed list of countries participating in Eurovision 2020. Fans were left frustrated when broadcaster MTVA did not give a reason for its withdrawal. The issue has now been raised in the Hungarian parliament, however the government would not comment on the issue.
Hungarian newspaper Magyar Hang reports that politician Péter Ungár, an MP of the green-liberal party LMP, asked the government why Hungary was not participating in the Eurovision Song Contest this year.
The Parliamentary Secretary of State Bence Rétvári refused to answer the question. He said that “No member of the government has the possibility to revise nor to control the decisions of the public broadcaster — thus the decision regarding the production mentioned in the question.”
The government’s inability to get involved in matters of the broadcaster means that Hungarian Eurovision fans are no closer to learning why MTVA will not be participating in Rotterdam.
Magyar Hang notes that the public broadcaster has previously put a lot of effort into finding Hungary’s entry for Eurovision each year. The paper speculates that Hungary’s non-qualification at Eurovision 2019 may have been the tipping point for the broadcaster deciding to withdraw.
MTVA will still hold its national song competition A Dal. However the 2020 edition of the show will not be used to select Hungary’s act for Eurovision. Instead the winner will receive the Petofi Music Award and a cash prize.
Hungary’s history of withdrawals
Hungary’s MTVA has a history of withdrawals at Eurovision. After their 1994 debut, Hungary ended up taking a break between 1999 and 2004. After their return in 2005, they took the years 2006 and 2010 off, citing financial difficulties.
Since then, they’ve had an impressive qualification streak from 2011 to 2018, including three top-ten finishes. Hungary also regularly does well with songs in the Hungarian language, though its most recent Hungarian entry — Joci Pápai’s “Az én apám” — failed to qualify.
Other countries have taken a year off from Eurovision with impressive results on their return. Ukraine didn’t compete in 2015 due to the Crimea situation and won on their 2016 return. Likewise, Portugal didn’t compete in 2016 due to financial issues and won on their 2017 return.
What do you think? Should the broadcaster be compelled to share its reasons for withdrawing? Tell us your thoughts below!