Last year, Wales made their debut as an individual participating nation in the inaugural edition of Eurovision Choir of the Year. Now, Welsh broadcaster S4C has taken things one step further with their upcoming debut in November’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest! So why has Wales been allowed to compete as an independent nation, and what does this mean for the other nations within the United Kingdom in all Eurovision events?
No UK? Hello Wales!
In a statement to Eurovision website ESCBubble.com, the EBU has explained the process behind the individual Welsh entry in this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
S4C, a member of the EBU, registered an interest in participating in, and broadcasting, the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2018 and they are allowed to do so because the JESC is not broadcast by any other UK wide Member.
Regarding why Wales are allowed to compete in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, the EBU reveals that as no UK-wide broadcaster is interested in participating or broadcasting the contest, S4C were allowed to register their interest in competing on behalf of Wales. Then, based on the second half of their statement as seen below, this would then have been put to the Junior Eurovision Reference Group who would determine whether S4C could compete.
Can England, Scotland and Northern Ireland join in the fun?
So, how does this apply to other Eurovision contests and other nations within the United Kingdom?
The United Kingdom participates as a single country for the Eurovision Song Contest with the BBC as their participating broadcaster. If more than one EBU Member from the different nations within the United Kingdom applied to take part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest then, should the national EBU Members not wish to participate as the United Kingdom, those applications would be duly considered by the EBU and the JESC Reference Group.
While the EBU doesn’t explicitly suggest that these Junior Eurovision Song Contest rules extend to other contests within the Eurovision Family of Events, the EBU’s juxtaposition of the Junior Eurovision situation and the adult Eurovision situation suggests that there is a level of transferability between them.
Taking this into account, this statement suggests that if no UK-wide broadcaster wanted to participate in a Eurovision event, then other EBU member broadcasters within the United Kingdom would be able to apply on behalf of their nations, such as S4C for Wales. There’s also STV for Scotland or UTV for Northern Ireland for example, however as sub-divisions of ITV the rules may be different here. The ultimate decision would then be up to the EBU and Reference Group of the relevant contest.
A separate English entry may face further additional hurdles, with no EBU member broadcaster covering only the whole of England. Instead, there are various regional branches of ITV that cover different parts of England.
What do you make of the EBU’s statements? Do you think Wales’ fellow UK nations will join them in the various Eurovision events? Let us know!