Bjorn Erichsen, the director of Eurovision TV, has confirmed that the EBU is working to bring Italy, Austria and Monaco back to the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest as a priority.
Following the delayed annoucement of the final list of 2009 countries yesterday, the EBU has been questioned about efforts to return previous participants to the Eurovision Song Contest stage. In a public statement, Mr Erichsen says that the EBU try every year to convince all members to take part, but that it is now a priority.
Bjorn Erichsen stated on eurovision.tv that "Every year, we make an effort to bring back those Member Broadcasters who are not taking part. We will even increase our efforts to get back Italy, Austria and Monaco for 2010! Luxembourg is a slightly different story, as their TV station is not an EBU Member anymore."
esctoday.com has asked the EBU about what was done to successfully convince the Georgian and Latvian broadcasters to tak part at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest following their public withdrawal from the competition. We also asked if they had to step in to prevent Lithuania from withdrawing.
We have also asked what the EBU will do to bring back Italy, Austria and Monaco and whether they will be granted any consessions to ensure that the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest features a full list of qualified countries.
Monaco withdrew from the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 after a brief return to the competition. They were unable to qualify from the semi final and claimed that the dominance of Eastern Europe made it impossible for them to participate fairly.
Austria withdrew for similar reasons in 2005, returned in 2007 to finish last in the semi final and withdrew again claiming that neighbourly voting meant the competition was unfair (scoring 3 or 4 points from neighbouring Switzerland). Italy has been absent from the competition since 1997.