GENEVA, Switzerland (Fwrd Axis) – The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced last week that Ukraine would not be hosting Eurovision 2023. This led to a significant backlash from Ukraine and its neighbors that the decision was too soon. And that the tradition of the winner hosting the following year should continue. On Thursday, the EBU responded, providing more reasoning for its decision.
In the statement, the EBU said it understood the disappointment. Ukraine has a population that loves Eurovision. Ukraine showed this when it hosted in 2017 with rabid crowds. Ukrainian fans were hoping for more of those scenes.
Still smarting from how expensive the trip to Italy was. Fans may also have been hoping for a cheaper host. Ukraine has been the most affordable host country in the last decade.
The official broadcaster, UA:PBC, responded to that initial statement with disappointment.
“We are disappointed with this decision of the EBU. During this month, a large number of people in Ukraine have thrown all their efforts to fulfill 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 unappealable statement; therefore, we ask our partners to hold further negotiations”, Mykola Chernotytskyi, Head of the Managing Board of UA: PBC, said.
That statement forced a response from the EBU, which was emphatic, stating that security was the concern. UA: PBC’s responses said that a safe Eurovision wouldn’t be possible.
“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,” said the EBU’s statement.
Essentially the EBU is telling on the Ukrainian broadcaster. The statement from Ukraine implied they were a helpless party, given no options. EBU’s response shows they would have been willing to host in Ukraine but by UA:PBC’s own admission, that wouldn’t be safe.
“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,” said the press release.
The EBU has stated a desire to have the United Kingdom host as Sam Ryder finished second in Turin. It also seems appropriate that a Big 5 nation, given special treatment in the contest should step up in this scenario.