While Ukraine is falling apart in two camps, Svante Stockselius, supervisior of the Eurovision Song Contest at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) visits Kiev today to find out if the political crisis affects the organisation of the upcoming contest.
Earlier this week, Stockselius said to esctoday.com that he's going to Kiev to find out how the political crisis affects and might affect the organisation process, which is becoming more and more intense now that the 50th Eurovision Song Contest is only six months away. If the contest still can take place in Ukraine has not yet been questioned by Stockselius, who was optimistic in his comments to esctoday.com as well as doteurovision.com.
Despite optimism from the EBU's side, from fans and Ukrainians involved with the organisation of the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, it might all turn out different. Even if the political crisis doesn't affect the organisation of the upcoming contest, it's highly unpredictable what the future brings for Ukraine. New elections might bring back unity to the more and more dividing country. Regional leaders in the eastern part of Ukraine, supporting Yanukovych, threatened with authonomy from the western part, which is in favour of opposition candidate Yushchenko. The possible threat of long-term political instability is likely one of the key issues in the decision to keep the contest in Ukraine or to find another location.
Hard to look forward
Hopefully, the situation in Ukraine improves soon and the location of the 2005 contest does not have to be questioned. Though, for the EBU, it's almost impossible to make decisions based on the current situation in Ukraine. The European Union threatened with sanctions for Ukraine if the election results are not being revised and it's unliky the EBU and its members ignore such a rejection. The EBU has to look forward, taking all possible scenarios into consideration.
Worst case scenarios
The last time the Eurovision Song Contest had to move was in 1991, when the Balcan war made the Italian broadcaster RAI and the EBU decide to move from San Remo to Rome. A relatively small move, still within the host country. If the EBU wants to avoid all risks in the Ukrainian election conflict, they might choose for a different scenario. Earlier this week, Stockselius confirmed to Swedish media that “there is no plan B”. Esctoday.com did some research to find out what 'Plan B' can be. Keep in mind: nothing is clear yet and Kiev is still the most likely city to host the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest! Close your eyes and imagine (but keep reading)…
DOWN THE LIST: After Ukraine, which ended up first in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest, we can find Serbia & Montenegro on the second spot. In Istanbul, several delegation members from Serbia & Montenegro declared to esctoday.com that it's 'unlikely' the country is able to host the contest. In case the EBU decides to leave Ukraine, they most likely choose for a reliable location. With Greece at the third place, Athens 2005 is an option. After the 2004 Olympics we don't have to worry about a venue…
ANY MEMBER WILLING: Just like with the 2004 Junior Eurovision Song Contest, the EBU might hold an inventarisation under the participating members to ask if there is any broadcaster willing to host the Eurovision Song Contest. The Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group most likely decides which broadcaster comes up with the best papers. With only six months and the clock ticking, there is hardly any time for such a procedure. But as the EBU is always very loyal to its members, this might be another logical options.
AROUND THE CORNER: With a mandate from the participating EBU members and support from the Swiss broadcaster, Switzerland might be the perfect location for the 50th Eurovision Song Contest. In 1956, the first edition of the contest took place in Switzerland and from a nostalgic perspective it's an acceptable choice. A contest around the corner of the EBU's headquarters might also save some budget.
TRADITION AND EXPERIENCE: If the EBU wants to be sure everything goes perfect (yes, yes… everything is relative), the EBU might choose for an experienced Eurovision Song Contest host. Norway is an option, as they hosted the Junior Eurovision Song Contest just weeks ago. With it's Eurovision Song Contest experience over the past year, Sweden might very well be able to take over the organisation of the 2005 contest. SVT, the Swedish broadcaster, organised the contest in 2000 and was involved in the organisation of 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. For 2005, several tasks are outsourced to Swedes and Swedish companies again.
Now, back on earth!
Back on earth again, leaving all possible scenarios behind us again, it's clear that the EBU faces a difficult decision. Hoping that the situation in Ukraine can be solved quickly and peacefully – after all it's about a lot more than 'just' a song contest – there is one thing for sure: the EBU has to decide quickly, because time for a quick move is running out!
More about the situation in Ukraine later today. As Ukraine is still the host country for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, esctoday.com keeps you up to date about the situation in Ukraine.