MRT, the Macedonian national broadcaster, is to face sanctions from the EBU due to long standing overdue debt towards them.
According to ESCXtra, anonymous sources from MRT claim that the broadcaster owes over 500,000 to the EBU. The broadcaster generated 19.3 million Euros in 2016 but allegedly has over 21.8 million Euros in debt to be paid to domestic and foreign trustees.
What Claire Rainford, EBU’s Senior Communications Officer had to say regarding this topic:
“Unfortunately, Macedonian Radio Television no longer has access to our services until they pay off their debt.”
No official statement regarding MRT’s financial situation has yet been made by its general manager, Marjan Cvetkovski. He stated:
“MRTV’s broadcasting fee was canceled this September as the new goverment made a decision to fund the broadcaster from the state budget.”
MRT currently finds itself in a similar situation that TVR, the Romanian national broadcaster, was in back in 2016. The broadcaster was forced to withdraw from that year’s Eurovision Song Contest after failing to pay debts 16 million Swiss francs to the EBU, which lead to a withdrawal from all EBU services. This was after they had selected Ovidiu Anton to sing “Moment of Silence” in Stockholm.
It is not yet clear if the EBU will reprimand MRT, thus preventing them from taking part in any EBU events, including the Eurovision Song Contest. MRT originally confirmed their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 but later rescinded their confirmation. It is also unclear as to whether Macedonia’s participation in the upcoming Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be affected. Mina Blažev is due to represent the country in Tbilisi with “Dancing Through Life”.
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FYR Macedonia has had a string of poor results in recent years failing to reach the final every year since 2012. The country debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998, however two years earlier they attempted to participate but was knocked out in the pre-qualifying round. In 2016 they were represented by Kaliopi for a second time with the song “Dona”, she missed out on the final finishing in 11th in her semi-final. FYR Macedonia’s best result to date is a 12th place finish in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest represented by Elena Risteska and the song “Ninanajna”.