Moments ago, the EBU announced the provisional list of participating countries that will compete at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. The list sees no countries making their debut this year. Slovakia return for the first time since 1998 whilst as previously announced, Georgia and Latvia will participate in Russia, despite initally withdrawing from the competition after a change of policy by their national broadcasters.
The announcement means that for the first time since 2002, there will be no country making a debut at the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2003, Ukraine joined the competition for the first time. They finished 14th with 30 points for Olexandr's Hasta la vista. The country went on to become one of the most successful entrants in the competition. They won in 2004, and have finished second in each of the last two years – three top two finishes in six years makes the country the most successful of this decade.
In 2004, Albania, Andorra, Belarus and Serbia & Montenegro entered for the first time. This was the biggest intake of debut countries since 1994 when seven countries (Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia) joined for the first time. Serbia & Montenegro were the most successful debut nation, taking second place.
In 2005, Bulgaria and Moldova joined the competition for the first time. Moldova reached the final and took a top ten finish, Bulgaria had to wait two more years to make their debut in the Eurovision Song Contest final.
In 2006, Armenia entered the competition for the first time. Andre took the debut nation to 6th place. A year later, and Hayko secured 8th place for the country and this year, Sirusho took fourth place with the hit song Quele Quele, beating the eventual winner from Russia in their semi final. Armenia has never finished outside the top ten since joining the competition.
In 2007, Georgia and the Czech Republic entered the competition for the first time and Serbia and Montenegro participated as independent countries for the first time. Serbia managed to become the first debut country to win the competition when Maria Serifovic captured top spot with the song Molitva.
Lastyear Azerbaijan and San Marino joined the competition. Whilst Azerbaijan qualified for the final and reached 8th place. San Marino finished last in their semi final and will not participate at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.