Rumour has it… Greek participation is in danger?

Well hello there guys! It’s been a while since I posted something and why not come back to writing with the second of the ‘Rumour Has It’ articles! It seems that rumours in the Eurovision world are hard to come by, but we believe we’ve got the perfect one to write about, and that’s about the future participation of Greece. Now that ERT has shutdown and a new television station, NERIT, is about to be opened, does the future look bright for the Greeks and Eurovision?

Will NERIT be able to continue the Greek participation?
Will NERIT be able to continue the Greek participation?

So to give you a bit of a background of Greece’s participation leading up to and including 2013, Greece has been participating in the Eurovision since 1974. During those 40 Eurovision years, Greece has participated in 34 Contests, with the country withdrawing in the following six years:

  • 1975 (as a protest for the Turkish invasion of Cyprus)
  • 1982 (because they were going to participate with a song that was already released)
  • 1984 (citing all the songs were of “low quality”)
  • 1986 (because the Contest was going to be held the night before Orthodox Easter, but Polina swears it was because of political troubles)
  • 1999 (as their five-year-record at the time was one of the lowest and withdrew along with Finland, Macedonia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Romania)
  • and 2000 (blaming financial problems for the lack of participation)

Ever since their return in 2001, Greece has managed to get into the final every time, although in 2001-2003, there was no semi-final to qualify from. Leading on from that fact, from 2004 (when the semi-finals were introduced) to 2011, the country always finished in the top 10 of the finalists, the best placing from those eight years being Helena Paparizou who won the competition in Kyiv in 2005, and then 3rd place in 2008, thanks to Kalomira.

In 2012, however, the financial crisis was getting serious in Greece and sadly because of cutbacks to the budget, the national final was held in the River West Shopping Centre in Athens, where Eleftheria Eleftheriou emerged victorious and would represent Greece in Baku in May of that year. As we all now know, she finished in a dismal 17th place, destroying Greece’s top 10 record and finishing behind other fan favourites such as Loreen, the Babushki and Ivi Adamou. This year, ERT decided to collaborate with MAD TV, a private music channel. This allowed more money to be used in the national final and the competition was no longer in that mall. Ironically, the Greeks decided to send a self-satirical song about the whole economic mess that is Greece. Koza Mostra and Agathonas finished in a very respectable 6th place, putting them back up in the top 10, but the damage had been done and Greece’s top 10 record will remain tarnished until the end of time.

One month after this year’s Contest, however, ERT was shut down by the Greek government. It was stated that a new station would be set up as soon as possible and this is being carried out. A new television station, NERIT (New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television), is expected to be opened fully in the coming months, as the broadcaster is currently running short news bulletins, a news talk show and also covering some sports events. The station is to be funded on TV license fees, if the Greek Parliament approves the necessary legislation.

But what does this mean for the future of Greece in Eurovision? Well for starters, the new TV station has no EBU membership, so the station will have to obtain full membership in order to participate in Eurovision. However, the deadline for countries to confirm participation for the Eurovision in 2014 will be in early-mid December, so can NERIT become a member of the EBU in the space of three months? It doesn’t seem likely, as the station has many hurdles to clear before the EBU approves membership for the newly opened broadcaster, but there’s also a possibility that the EBU could hand the membership of ERT to NERIT, and that could help clear the first major barrier. But as well as that, the participation fee is rather large for taking part in recent years, even though it’s been declining steadily, so could the station afford to take part next year? Many signs point to the negative side, but nothing will be confirmed until either Greece confirm participation or the list of countries taking part is published. Personally, Greece sends some great songs and it would be a shame if they withdrew due to their financial situation. But if they find the money and have the membership and NERIT is all operating, this many not be an issue.

Your views:

What do you think of the rumour that the future of Greece’s participation is in danger?

Do you think Greece will be able to take part next year?
Do you think Greece will be able to take part next year?

Seth Wezendonk from the Netherlands: I can describe it with one word: horrible! Greece is in my top 10 almost every year, I don’t wanna lose another favorite country after Turkey and Bosnia & Herzegovina…

Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: Well Greece has a great record at Eurovision, so I’d be disappointed if they withdrew. They send such great songs!!

Andy Hendrickx from Belgium: I would miss them heaps!

Yiannis Moutsis from Greece:  It’s still early to even think about Eurovision. In the best case scenario, the NERIT will broadcast a full program until the end of the year. We’ll have to wait and see.

It seems that Greece would be sorely missed if they were to withdraw, but if NERIT manage to get EBU membership before December, we won’t be so heartbroken! What do you think of the rumour? Would you like to see Greece in the Eurovision in the future or do you think this is the best for them to take a break while they sort themselves out financially? Feel free to tell us what you think by commenting below!

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