Kazakhstan: Will Khabar Agency debut in Eurovision 2019?

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 2,307 views

Will we see the much awaited debut of Kazakhstan at the forthcoming 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel? The bells started ringing after the announcement of Khabar Agency’s debut at the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest sending the Eurovision community into a frenzy. ESCToday decided to investigate further and contacted both the EBU and Khabar Agency in order to shed more light on the matter.

There has been much buzz regarding Kazakhstan’s potential debut at the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years, the alarms were set off when Kazakh broadcaster Khabar Agency was accepted as an EBU associate member back in 2015. Khabar Agency is an EBU associate member since January 1st 2016.

Many  Eurovision fans would be thrilled to see Kazakshtan join the Eurovision party. We haven’t had a debut in the contest since 2015, when Australia joined the Eurovision family!

Is Kazakhstan eligible to compete in Eurovision?

Kazakh broadcaster Khabar Agency is an associate EBU member and thus NOT ELIGIBLE to compete in the contest, unless the EBU decides to extend a special invite. Kazakhstan has to be formally invited by the EBU to join the competition. It is entirely up to the EBU’s discretion to extend an invite to the country very much like in the case of Australia.

With the latest developments and Kazakhstan’s debut at the forthcoming 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Minsk, the country’s chances to join the Eurovision bandwagon may seem more likely. Does the country’s JESC debut open the doors for a potential Eurovision participation? Will the EBU invite Khabar Agency to join the Eurovision party in Israel?

EBU’s response

In the wake of all the rumours and speculation after the announcement of Kazakshstan’s debut at the 2018 JESC, ESCToday reached out to the EBU and Khabar Agency in order to clarify the situation.

EBU gave ESCToday the following statement:

Only full EBU Members are eligible to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest although the ESC Reference Group (the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest) may accept, at its discretion, an Associate Member as a “guest” participant in exceptional circumstances as it has previously done with Australia. There are no plans to extend this arrangement to other Associate Members.

From  EBU’s response we understand that there are currently no plans to invite other Associate Members to partake in the competition, thus in another words we might not see Kazakhtan’s debut in Israel next year. But is there still a glimmer of hope to see the nation compete in the contest in the near future?

It’s early days yet, we must wait and see what the future holds for Kazakhstan, the country is set to debut at the 2018 JESC in Belarus. Taking into account the country’s high interest in the contest and Khabar Agency’s aim to join the party, we might see Kazakhstan’s Eurovision debut sooner than expected.

Kazakhstan and Eurovision

Khabar Agency has been broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest for several years now. The Kazakh nation seems to love our beloved contest, and has aired all three Eurovision shows live both in 2017 and 2018. There seems to be much interest in the contest in Kazakhstan as the national broadcaster has devoted much coverage and exposure to Europe’s favorite television show.