Finnish government plans to support the Eurovision Song Contest financially have allegedly stirred up trouble amongst some institutions, which claim to have suffered as a result of the Eurovision budget pledge.
Earlier this year, the Finnish government pledged four million Euros to support YLE's plans to host the 2007 contest in Helsinki. However, certain groups have claimed that this sum of money has eaten away at funding for other areas, particularly the Arts and Culture. MP Minna Sirniö, president of the Theatre and Media Workers' Union in Finland, is just one voice of protest; although supporting the promotion of Finnish culture through the Eurovision Song Contest, she makes it clear that more money for Culture in general would have been welcome.
Lottery funds for Eurovision
It seems the Ministry of Education has stepped up to defend the government's plans, offering the argument that the extra money was in fact diverted from previously untouched lottery funds. Director General for the Ministry, Riitta Kaivosoja, puts the decrease in Culture funding down to extra financial support for Finnish libraries this year, and not the Eurovision Song Contest push.
Despite the funding controversy, a change to the budget proposal is unlikely now, although a record number of comments have been lodged. YLE still have to find an estimated nine million more Euros to make the projected 13 million Euro budget for the contest in 2007.