EBU Headquarter

Eurovision 2023: EBU responds to criticism after opting out of Ukraine as host country

Safety first: The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) explains why they have opted out of Ukraine as host country for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023

After last week's statement from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) when they stated that Eurovision 2023 would not be held in Ukraine, several individuals and organizations have commented on the decision:

The Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC requested meetings with the EBU for further discussions on hosting Eurovision 2023 in Ukraine:

– We are disappointed with this decision from the EBU. During this month, a large number of people in Ukraine have thrown all their efforts into fulfilling the conditions for holding Eurovision in our country. Security is, of course, our first priority.

– The team of UA:PBC, state, and local authorities did a thorough job, and offered different options. It is a pity to see such an unappealing statement. Therefore, we ask our partners to hold further negotiations.

The EBU also revealed that they will begin discussions with British broadcaster BBC about hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, which caused some reactions:

UK Prime minister, Boris Johnson, stated that he would like Ukraine to host the event:

– The Ukrainians won the Eurovision Song Contest. I know we had a fantastic entry, I know we came second, and I’d love it to be in this country.

– But the fact is that they won and they deserve to have it. I believe that they can have it, and I believe that they should have it.

– I believe Kyiv or any other safe Ukrainian city would be a fantastic place to have it.

The United Kingdom's Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, asked for the EBU to review their decision:

– We remain 100% supportive of our friends in Ukraine being given the opportunity to host Eurovision next year, and demonstrate to the world the enduring richness of Ukrainian culture and creativity.

– We call upon the EBU to review their decision, and to ensure that Ukraine's proposals are given full and proper consideration.

The European Broadcasting Union has released a new statement, where they explain why the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 can't be held in Ukraine:

EBU Statement

The EBU fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement that the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) cannot be staged in Ukraine, this year’s winning country.

The decision was guided by the EBU’s responsibility to ensure the conditions are met to guarantee the safety and security of everyone working and participating in the event, the planning of which needs to begin immediately in the host country.

At least 10,000 people are usually accredited to work on, or at, the Eurovision Song Contest including crew, staff and journalists. A further 30,000 fans are expected to travel to the event from across the world. Their welfare is our prime concern.

It is therefore critical that decisions made in relation to such a complex live television event are made by broadcasting professionals and do not become politicized.

The Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, that all participating broadcasters agree upon, clearly state that the event can be moved in a force majeure situation such as an ongoing war.

In response to the EBU’s security questionnaire a number of risks that would impact the immediate planning for such a large event, including the “severe” risk of air raids/attacks by aircraft or attacks by drones or missiles, which can cause significant casualties, were highlighted by the Ukrainian assessment provided to us.

Additionally, the EBU sought third-party expert security advice which clearly stated that the counter measures proposed to mitigate the threats planning the event in Ukraine were insufficient for an international public event and the risk rating of a mass casualty event due to the ongoing conflict is “high.”

Alongside the security concerns, the continued conflict in Ukraine makes delegations and participants reluctant to travel to the country. We also noted the comments made by the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, that the war in Ukraine “could take years."

With regards to the possibility of hosting the Contest in a border location close to a neighboring country, the specifications of suggested venues, and the lack of the necessary surrounding infrastructure, do not meet the requirements of the ESC.

When drawing its conclusions, the EBU also took note that, based on our current information, no major international concert tours are visiting Ukraine throughout 2023.

All this contributes to the EBU’s overall assessment that in terms of security and operational guarantees, the necessary requirements for hosting, as set out in the Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest are not met.

Taking all of this into account the EBU, with regret, made its decision to move the event to another country and will continue discussions on finding a suitable location for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. We are happy to engage further with our Ukrainian Member UA:PBC on all these issues.

Eurovision News