Greece: Keep calm and love Greece

by Michalis Vranis 424 views

A storm in a teacup has emerged in  Greece the past few days after alleged reports surfaced, stating that the EBU had blocked Greece from participating at the Eurovision Song Contest, mainly because the new Greek broadcaster, NERIT, is not yet a member of the European Broadcasting Union. But what is really happening?

Most of the Greek media have been reposting and recycling the same article which claims that NERIT is not a member of the EBU, hence it won’t be allowed to participate in Eurovision. In addition, the article uses harsh wording like The EBU has blocked Greece out of Eurovision. Despite the fact that an ambiguous EBU statement was quoted, most of the readers stick to one side of the story.

To participate in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, a broadcaster has to be a Member of the EBU. NERIT’s participation in 2014 was granted based on the pending application for membership and the exceptional situation in Greece.

The Eurovision officials respond

ESCToday approached Mr. Bakker, the Event Supervisor of the contest and his statement was clear; NERIT was not blocked from EBU, they are simply not an EBU member yet. Concluding; only EBU members can take part in the contest, as usual.

The question emerging out of this statement is when will NERIT become (if they are eligible) an EBU member? Mr. Bakker explained that currently there is a pending membership application submitted by NERIT to the EBU. In order to become a member, the application has to be accepted by the General Assembly, an officials meeting taking place in early December. Obviously NERIT must meet all the criteria by then.

Greece’s NERIT answers

Like every year, the procedure to participate in Eurovision is the same for every broadcaster. The EBU sends an official invitation to the broadcasters, members of the Union, to submit their application to participate in the next Eurovision Song Contest. This year, on NERIT’s behalf, official sources state that the broadcaster answered to the invitation and has submitted the application to participate in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna few days before the deadline of 15 September.

NERIT confirmed to ESCToday last July that Greece’s participation at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest. Following the aftermath of the mediatic storm caused by the alleged reports regarding the Greek participation next year, NERIT told ESCToday that the broadcaster has filed an application for participation at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, and are currently awaiting for the approval of its EBU membership.

NERIT officials seem optimistic that the membership application will be accepted in December, leaving the road open for the next Greek representative to represent the country in Vienna.

Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

EBU membership details

The Greek matter will be solved in early December, when the General Assembly of the Union will take place. In a contact ESCToday had with the EBU over the membership matters, it was made clear that NERIT must fulfill all the criteria needed to become the Greek member of the European Broadcasting Union.

No matter what, after the shutdown of ERT, the previous Greek broadcaster, by the government, the new broadcaster will have to deal with lots of arrangements before becoming a member of the EBU family. Last year, Greece made it to Copenhagen with NERIT at very last moment, whilst the new broadcaster was launched the week before the contest took place.

Stay tuned at ESCToday as we will be following closely the issue with hopes that the Greek broadcaster will overcome the hurdle of becoming a member of the EBU and soon to announce their plans in picking the next Greek Eurovision participant.