Polish culture minister regrets EBU’s decision on Eurovision contest

Jens Büttner PAP/DPA

Poland's culture minister has expressed his disappointment with the decision of the Eurovision Song Contest's organisers who had announced talks with Britain to hold the next year's event instead of Ukraine due to the war in the country.

Piotr Glinski in a Saturday statement said he regrets that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) "has arbitrarily taken away from the Ukrainian public broadcaster AU:PBC the right to organise the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023."

The statement published on the culture ministry's website was also signed by the president of the Public Polish Television network TVP Jacek Kurski and TVP Board Member Mateusz Matyszkowicz.

"We support the position of the AU:PBC and the Ukrainian authorities, in which they call for further negotiations on the organisation of the contest with the participation of representatives of the country winner of this year's Eurovision," the statement read.

When on May 14 this year, Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy with their entry "Stefania" it was expected that according to the event's long-standing tradition the winning country would host the contest the following year. But already at the time, concerns were raised that Ukraine plunged into war might not be up to the challenge.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, congratulating his compatriots on their performance, said that he would do everything to ensure that next year's event was held in Mariupol, a city that has become a painful symbol of the bestiality of Russian troops.

But on Friday EBU said in a statement that "following objective analysis... given the current circumstances, the security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organise and produce the Eurovision Song Contest... cannot be fulfilled by UA:PBC."

Therefore, the EBU explained, it will now begin discussions with British broadcaster, the BBC, to potentially organise the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom, this year’s runner up.