The Scoop🇧🇦 Bosnia & Herzegovina

Funding cap remains a barrier to a Bosnia & Herzegovina return

Bosnia & Herzegovina is undoubtedly a Balkan fan-favourite at Eurovision. They have delivered many memorable Eurovision performances this century and in previous decades. However, a return is unfortunately not on the cards yet, and remains “impossible” at this stage.

An unlikely return

Lejla A. Babović, the Head of the Radio and Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHRT) Department of International Affairs, has dashed hopes that we could see the country’s return in the near future. She spoke publicly to Bosnia & Herzegovina’s best-selling newspaper, Dnevni avaz earlier this month. There, she spoke of the monetary barriers that the country continues to face for a potential return, but remained hopeful that the world could see the country back on the Eurovision stage.

Regina at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 (Image Source: Eurovision.tv)

Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Financial Struggles

In June 2021, BHRT revealed that they had accumulated around 6 million CHF (€5.48 million) of outstanding debts with the EBU. As a result, they are under sanctions from the EBU, which will prevent them from taking part in the contest until these are repaid. However, in 2022, the conditions under which BHRT operate unfortunately still make it impossible for the country’s return.

BHRT raises funds through a licence fee, but at present, this does not generate enough revenue. Babović explained that some of these issues stem from RTRS, the Bosnian public broadcaster operating in the Srpska region. From 2017 to 2021, RTRS collected 61 million KM (approximately €31 million). However, the requisite portion of these RTV fees were not transferred to BHRT. Babović pointed out that until this fee is distributed properly, it will be difficult for the nation to participate.

Still, Babović remained hopeful that Bosnia & Herzegovina could make their long-awaited return, but made a pledge that the country could not manage this return to Eurovision alone.

BHRT cannot win this battle alone. It is necessary to involve the wider community in order for BHRT to receive its legally prescribed part of the RTV fee and to be able to fulfill the role of promoting BiH, its authors, performers and artists on the international scene.

Lejla A. Babović, via Dnevni avaz

Passionate about a return

In the interview with Dnevni avaz, Babović spoke of the pity she felt about the country’s long absence. She denies that Eurovision is not about succeeding and achieving a high placing. Instead, it is about having the chance to participate in the identity, tradition and continuity that the contest brings each year. Many of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s representatives have achieved Grand Final placings, and Babović emphasised that it is a rare opportunity that young artists should cherish, as it gives them the chance to spring onto the international scene with one of the world’s largest production and audiences.

Hari Mata Hari at the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 (Image Source: Dnevni avaz)

Bosnia & Herzegovina at the Eurovision Song Contest

Bosnia & Herzegovina is perhaps an underrated country at Eurovision when it comes to their success rate. The country has achieved multiple top-10 finishes among their 19 participations. Recent top 10 entries include Regina with “Bistra Voda”, who placed 9th in the 2009 Grand Final with 106 points, and Dino Merlin with “Love in Rewind”, who placed 6th overall with 125 points. Their best placing came in 2006. There, rock band Hari Mata Hari, with their song “Leijla”, placed 3rd overall with 229 points.

Their most recent participation was in 2016, where Deen (a returning artist from 2004), alongside Dalal, Ana Rucner and Jala competed with the song “Ljubav Je”. They narrowly missed out on a Grand Final qualification spot, where they placed 11th in Semi-Final 1 with 104 points.

What do you miss most about Bosnia & Herzegovina’s current absence at Eurovision? What is your favourite entry from the Balkan country? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to follow us on Spotify and YouTube to see our reactions to the news in the run up to Eurovision 2022!

Isabella Tang

I'm a dedicated Eurovision fan and new ESCXTRA contributor from the other side of the globe in Australia. Even though I'm fairly new to Eurovision, seeing as I was first introduced to it in 2016, this hasn't stopped me from looking back on all the previous years and loving the contest more and more.

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