Broadcaster MRT have issued a statement following today’s Turquoise Carpet ceremony in Turin. They are seemingly considering a last minute withdrawal from the Eurovision Song Contest. Andrea, North Macedonia’s representative, is being accused of “scandalous behaviour”.
Andrea and the flag
The cause for the uproar within the Macedonian broadcaster is a moment during the official opening ceremony of the Eurovision Song Contest. Whilst posing for the photographers on the Turquoise Carpet, Andrea was holding the national flag of North Macedonia. After a couple of shots, she seemingly threw the flag to someone in her crew. Footage of the moment can be found below.
Whilst this moment passed pretty much everyone by without much notice, the Macedonian broadcaster reacted firmly. In a statement published on their website, North Macedonia condemn Andrea’s seemingly innocent behaviour. They call it “scandalous” and say she “showed disrespected for the national symbol, which is punishable by law”. The way most people on social media respond suggests Andrea Koevska handed the flag over to a delegation member and meant no harm or disrespect to North Macedonia.
Despite these calls, MRT have said in their statement that they are even considering the possibility of withdrawing Andrea from the Eurovision Song Contest. They expect a public apology from their representative and hope there will be no more harm to MRT. With that final statement, one is led to believe that a withdrawal doesn’t seem all too likely. Withdrawing this late with this reason will probably not lead to a positive reaction by the EBU. Whether this seemingly minor incident is worth the trouble for MRT is yet to be seen.
The last time a country withdrew during the week of the Eurovision Song Contest was 1974. Back then, France pulled Dany and her “La Vie À 25 Ans” out of the competition days before the show. The reason back then was the sudden passing of French president Georges Pompidou. Since then, no country has withdrawn this late in the process – especially not for incidents like these.
UPDATE (23:20 CET): Andrea’s apology
Andrea Koevska appeared on Macedonian television late tonight. She there issued a statement, in which she says she meant no harm or disrespect to the flag of her North Macedonia. She has proudly showed off her flag all week and explained the flag moment by saying her delegation were just too far away, so they couldn’t take the flag away from her that quickly. She apologised for the moment and stated she hopes she can continue her Eurovision right until the end.
MRT and their delegation have not yet responded to the apology.
We will keep you updated on the latest news coming from North Macedonia. 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 for the latest music from your favourite Eurovision acts. As well as YouTube to see our coverage of the 2022 contest in Turin!