EBU and EU join forces to provide additional support and funds to Balkan broadcasters

Earlier this week, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced that the organisation would be taking part in a new project, funded by the European Union (EU), ย to strengthen public service media outlets in the Balkan region. This news comes as multiple Balkan broadcasters have made public their financial struggles which are jeopardising their Eurovision Song Contest participation.

“A crucial moment”

The EBU’s Head of Members Relations and Eastern Europe, Radka Betcheva, explains the launch of this project funded by the EU comes at a “crucial moment”.

“Public service media in the Western Balkans are still highly vulnerable to political interference. This project will deliver the urgent assistance they need to undertake an audacious reform agenda and adapt to a rapidly changing media environment. It also ensures that we gain the momentum from the previous EU-funded support projects and the EBU Partnership Programme.”

Six broadcasters to benefit

The project is to benefit six broadcasters. These are as follows:

  • RTVSH (Albania)
  • BHRT (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
  • RTK (Kosovo)
  • MKRTV (F.Y.R. Macedonia)
  • RTCG (Montenegro)
  • RTS (Serbia)

Indeed, RTVSH, BHRT, MKRTV, RTCG and RTS are all regular participating broadcasters at the Eurovision Song Contest. Meanwhile, RTK has repeatedly signalled their intentions to participate as soon as they are eligible.
Notably, the Macedonian broadcaster has recently been revealed to owe significant debts to the EBU. As a result, the EBU is to block MKRTV from receiving any of its services. This includes participation at the Eurovision Song Contest. Similarly, Bosnia & Herzegovina’s BHRT has been forced to miss several recent Eurovision Song Contests as a result of severe financial constraints.

Sustainable futures ahead?

This project will aim to “strengthen the independence, accountability and programming output of PSM organisations in the Western Balkans region by building synergies between the six beneficiary organisations”. Overall, we hope that this is an important step in securing the financial futures of these Balkan broadcasters, therefore making their regular participation in the Eurovision Song Contest a sustainable reality.
What do you think of this new collaboration between the EU and the EBU? Furthermore, do you think it’s too little too late for these struggling broadcasters? Let us know in the comments below!

Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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