The European Broadcasting Union announced that no new countries will appear at the next Eurovision Song Contest. The EBU is still struggeling with the selection procedure.
Ruurd Bierman, head of the Eurovision Reference Group, wrote a letter to the candidate-countries: “We are facing a very difficult situation regarding the number of participants in the Eurovision Song contest, as this year four new countries are willing to enter the contest. This sudden increase of participants has never happened in the recent years and the current process of admission is not adapted to such a situation. Having these four new countries at the same time in the contest would mean excluding countries that have been part of the contest for many years and in those markets being excluded for a year could be a real disaster. We have received a lot of negative reactions from those members and we also have to take them into account. In fact the future and continuity of the Song Contest is at stake. The conclusion of our meeting is that we have to re-think completely the process of admission. It is not possible to eliminate 10 countries each year and we must work on a solution adapted to today�s situation. The group therefore started to discuss alternative solutions and this discussion will continue in the summer and the fall within the EBU and all participants with the objective of finding a solution that allows everybody to participate. However, it will be too late to have this rule implemented already for the contest 2003. We therefore have to find an Ad Hoc solution for 2003 and I regret to inform you that we decided that we have to postpone all new applications, We can assure you that we will be working hard in the coming months to establish a new format for the Song Contest and provide clarity to new participants”.
Albania, Belarus, Serbia and Montenegro, and The Ukraine are most likely to appear in 2004, although the EBU is still working on a concept for the future.