The Macedonian broadcaster MRT has released an official statement regarding the country’s participation at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
Last week, the EBU confirmed that MRT are to be refused access to EBU services until they had paid off their mounting debts to the union. An EBU spokesperson later confirmed that this would mean that FYR Macedonia would be unable to participate at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon in May.
Up to now, MRT have failed to make an official statement regarding the current situation with the EBU; however, this evening an announcement has been made by an anonymous spokesperson from the broadcaster:
In 2012 the total debt amounted (to the EBU) was EUR 3.165 million. The paid amount in the period from 1 March 2012 to 26 October 2017 is EUR 6,146 million. The current matured obligations are up to 1.027 million euros out of which 434.000 euros are due solely on the basis of purchased sports rights: FIFA World Cup 2018, UEFA European Qualifications 2016-2018, Athletics IAEA 2017 and other events. Otherwise, between the MRT and the EBU, a meeting was held at the highest level, where it was decided to abolish all sanctions against MRT and all the services provided by the EBU are available on the Macedonian Radio Television again.
It is also very important to emphasise that due to the political crisis and the announcements for the abolition of the broadcasting fee, the Public Revenue Office has collected a significantly lower amount on the basis of the broadcasting fee. Namely, on the basis of the broadcasting fee, the Macedonian Radio Television needs to receive from the PRO amount of EUR 33,947 million, and the obligation for collection of the broadcasting fee is for the Public Revenue Office and the state itself.
We emphasise that if these funds were collected from the PRO in a timely manner, MRT would be able to service the overdue obligations, and at the same time the public service would be able to dispose of funds for the realisation of new program contents.
From this statement, one can gather that, after a meeting with the EBU, all sanctions against MRT have been dissolved. It is also apparent that if the broadcaster can pay a certain fee within an unspecified amount of time their debts will be cleared, and that with more organised funding the broadcaster can avoid situations such as this in the future. It would therefore seem that the country’s chances of participating at next year’s contest in Lisbon are more likely than they were a week ago, however an official statement on this is yet to be released by MRT or the EBU.