We quite often get asked, why can some countries which don't seem to be in Europe in a traditional sense, take part in the Eurovision Song Contest. Here's why.
Namely, all Members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) can take part in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Every year, the invitation to participate in the contest is sent out to all Members. While some of them choose not to take part, most of them do. Associates of the EBU may also be eligible to enter the Eurovision Song Contest, this is decided by the Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, on a case by case basis.
Who can become Members of the EBU?
There are certain criterions for joining the EBU, one of the most important ones being in the European Broadcasting Area (more about it in the next tab!). But of course, there are other conditions:
Membership of the EBU is open to broadcasting organisations or groups of such organisations from:
- a member country of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) situated in the European Broadcasting Area as defined by the Radio Regulations annexed to the International Telecommunication Convention, or a member country of the Council of Europe which is situated outside the European Broadcasting Area
- which provide in that country, with the authorisation of the competent authorities, a broadcasting service of national character and importance, and which furthermore prove that they fulfil all the conditions set out below:
- (a) virtually all of the national radio and/or television households are in a position and technically equipped to receive the entirety of their major radio and/or television programme service with satisfactory technical quality;
- (b) they are under an obligation to, and actually do, provide varied and balanced programming for all sections of the population, including programmes catering for special/minority interests of various sections of the public, irrespective of the ratio of programme cost to audience;
- (c) they actually produce and/or commission at their own cost and under their own editorial control a substantial proportion of the programmes broadcast;
- (d) they are not linked to a sports rights agency which engages in the acquisition of European television rights in competition with the EBU.
You can read more about the admission process and conditions on the EBU website.
Where do they have to be?
To become a Member of the European Broadcasting Area and thus take part in the Eurovision Song Contest, one of the conditions is to be in the European Broadcasting Area. Where and what is it?
The "European Broadcasting Area" is bounded on the West by the western boundary of Region 1, on the east by the meridian 40° East of Greenwich and on the South by the parallel 30° North so as to include the northern part of Saudi Arabia and that part of those countries bordering the Mediterranean within these limits. That is also the reason why for example Israel can take part in the contest.
In addition, Iraq, Jordan and that part of the territory of Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey and Ukraine lying outside the above limits are included in the European Broadcasting Area.
On the map below, European Broadcasting Area is shown in green.
Associates of the EBU, outside of the European Broadcasting Area, may also be eligible to enter the Eurovision Song Contest. Such decisions are taken by the Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, on a case by case basis.